Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Alumni from 1960's remembering the Columbus Day Storm

(Photos submitted by Jim La Berge '65)

By Clark Peters '65, MSEd '70 
I remember so clearly where and what happened on that fateful day! Phi Bete fraternity brother, Greg Mock, and I were returning to campus in his car when the big wind came through Forest Grove. 

We pulled over to the side of the road and RAN to the front of the Congregational Church. There were about 6 or 7 steps up into the Church in those days. We crouched down where the corner of the steps met the Church building and let the big breeze blow by. In all my life here in Oregon, I have never seen or felt such a thunderous wind! It was really awesome!

By Joanne ’63 and Barney Howard ’62
We will never forget that day. Our new born son, Barney, was just 3 months old and we were still sterilizing milk in the bottles with our "sterilizer." Then electricity went out. How could we sterilize because our stove was electric? Thank goodness, the Hingstons who lived up the street did have electricity, so I put Barney Jr. in the "pram" and walked up to the Hingstons to take care of the bottles. 

Tom Jaasko '66 pretending to hold up a tree!
My husband, Barney, was teaching in Tualatin and was driving home as the trees were ripped out of orchards by their roots and rolling across the road. The power lines were whipping across the roads torn from their poles. Many were still sparking as he drove trying to get home. Our car was a 1953 Ford and not very road reliable. Transformers were exploding! A big tree went down in the front of our triplex on Main Street. Barney can still see the whole trees blowing by as he was trying to get home to his little family in Forest Grove!

By Jim La Berge ’65 
I remember the Columbus Day Storm happened around dinner time. Most people living on campus had already gone into McCormick Hall basement to eat. With all the trees down it was a wonder that no one on campus was hurt or killed. Trees were down everywhere. It took days for the cleanup.


  1. Great memories! There are more photos of the campus after the storm in the Archives, here:

  2. That photo of Knight Hall brought back memories! I was on my way there to practice when the tree came down. I should have listened to my friend, Mutsuko, a Japanese exchange student who took one look and said "Is typhoon." Of course, everyone who heard assured her we NEVER have that in Oregon. I recall conceding that this "tyhoon" must have been a dunce in geography.