Wild weather brings out the best in some East Portland people

Amid the blowing rain and water-filled roads, see the story of a driver who felt compelled to help a helpless motorist …

With water up to his floorboards, the unlucky driver in the blue car discovered the penalty of driving through water too deep: a dead car.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Most residents of East Portland just stayed inside when while the wind blew the rain sideways, earlier this week.

Fortunately, there were only minor reports of homes damaged by falling trees or flooding during what some called the heaviest rain in a 24-hour period in over a decade.

Low car + high water = dead vehicle
While we were out surveying East County, looking for weather-caused problems, we encountered flooded traffic lanes on Powell Boulevard. Near SE 72nd Avenue, a large SUV hit the water, hydroplaned, and ended up climbing the curb. The only real damage appeared to be the driver’s pride.

When we checked SE 92nd Avenue, about a block north of Powell Boulevard, we discovered that this particular low spot was severely flooded.

We noticed a white Toyota, sitting motionless in the southbound lane of SE 92nd Avenue. Thoughtless drivers of high-riding vehicles plowed past the disabled car, sometimes drenching it with a rooster-tail of rainwater runoff.

“I was at the top of the hill,” its driver, a damp Evan Clothier, later explained; “and I saw a Geo Metro go through the deep water just fine. But my car just ‘died’, and there I was.”

We watched a Jeep drive past the dead-in-the-water compact car slowly. It backed up, and the driver got out. A young man got out, his pants rolled up. He had a long tow strap in hand. He conferred with the driver of the waterlogged car. Within minutes, the Jeep had pulled to Toyota to safety, leaving it in a nearby parking lot.

“Good Samaritan” Larry Cusick told us he didn’t mind getting soaked when he helped pull the waterlogged car to safety.

‘Karma bank’ deposit
We asked the Jeep driver, Larry Cusick, what he was doing out on such a stormy night as was November 5th.

“The bad weather kept us in all day,” he explained, “and we were getting ‘cabin fever’. My girlfriend and I decided to go for a soft drink at the 7-11 Store.”

Why did he stop and get out of his dry Jeep to help?

“Because I figure it is good karma. Someone might stop and help me out someday, eh? They were stuck. I don’t mind. It’s just water.”

Clothier, the rescued driver, said, “What a great guy! I really appreciate this guy’s help. I don’t know him, or anything.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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