NEAR CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. — The rain that’s soaking the region is good news for anyone worried about water supplies and wildfire danger later this year. While several inches have come down in the last few days on the west side of the Cascades, most streams in southwest Oregon are containing the runoff.
Water gushes down a rocky hillside near Selma on Friday as heavy rain continues to pour into the Illinois Valley. The Illinois River itself is not flooding, but it’s higher than it’s been just about all winter. Many people were out driving just to see what the water is doing, and most seem happy to see the rain.
“I got two seasonal ponds that usually fill up by November-December, and they’re not even showing water…and they’re not even getting water in them yet. So, I’m not worried about my place getting flooded yet. I got plenty of water space to fill in,” said Selma resident Warren McCrary.
Several others with whom we spoke seem more interested in better fishing ahead.
“We’re very happy to see this water. We need this really bad to clean out our rivers and maybe get some fish up and clean it all out,” said another resident, Joe Gonsalves.
“It’s going to be alright. Soon as it goes down the fishing’s going to be great! We been waiting for the fish to get here,” said fisherman Dave Smith.
Some old timers say it’s just been a weird year.
“Actually, we should have about 6 to 10 inches of snow on the ground right now,” said resident Bill Box.
So while the rain continues, many property owners along small streams will keep their eyes on flows, while the Illinois River gathers in the water rushing down hillsides that were dry a week ago.
With all the rain that the Illinois Valley and some of the coastal areas have received in the past few days, you’d think that there might be much more runoff, but the ground is just so dry that part of that water is soaking in.
Travel advisories are in effect for coastal roads and highways for possible rock or landslides as a result of this storm. Some flooding is possible in the Coquille area as well.