Milton-Freewater residents affected by flooding are denied legal - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Milton-Freewater residents affected by flooding are denied legal action

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2-8-18 UPDATE:

MILTON-FREEWATER, OR - Umatilla County Emergency Management is watching the flooding in Milton-Freewater closely. Unfortunately, because the flooding didn't affect anyone on a large scale, it doesn't meet the criteria for a disaster declaration.

This is a tricky situation because this part of the river is a sensitive salmon habitat, so homeowners can't legally take action.

However, the county and the Oregon Department of State Lands are doing what they can to help with recovery efforts.



MILTON-FREEWATER, WA - Some people living near Milton-Freewater are seeing a lot more of the Walla Walla River than they would like to. Reporter Jaclyn Selesky spoke with one family whose life has been turned upside down in the past few days.

"We've never had it flood this bad," said Ginger Afdahl.

Afdahl was at home with her family on Sunday afternoon when her son noticed their front yard started to flood. In a matter of minutes, her property was unrecognizable.

"What we're standing on right here was part of our driveway," said Afdahl.

She and her husband have been living on the North Fork of the Walla Walla River for the past 30 years, and they say they've never had any flooding concerns. Now, they don't know what to do.

"We never imagined that we would need to get flood insurance."

But the warmer temperatures and recent snow melt are not to blame. A meteorologist from the National Weather Service says he thinks a tree fell somewhere along the river, creating a natural dam and rerouting the water's path.

"The water was coming and there was just no stopping it."

As for how the Afdahl family is feeling…"Devastated. We try to make jokes about it to lift our spirits, but it's really not a joke. We have a lot of work to do."

If you're interested in helping the Afdahl family, we've included a link to their GoFundMe account: