Re: Broadcasters Cope With Columbus Day Storm


Craig..remmber Columbus Day 1962 very well. As bill Cooper mentioned I was flying traffic in helicopter in afternoon. We took off from Swan Island and headed up Willamette toward Lake Oswego. As we got over Ross Island the pilot looked at me and “something is wrong”: I asked what and he said look at air speed indicator, it showed 75 mph, and we were going backwards!! We returned to Swan Island and could not land due to gusty winds. When we got close to ground on one pass the pilot told me to jump ,which i did. He roared off and finally was able to land behind a large building on Swan Islands.

As i returned to station (SW 5th and Lincoln) I saw roof tear off old Hamilton Hotel (where fed courthouse now stands on sw 3rd) also saw trees coming down in park across from county court house.

When i got to station studio power was out , but tmx had generator. We had a visiting engineer from Golden West in Los angeles with us and he had a rental car. They rigged up two lites in the studio using the car down in the parking garage to keep us on the air. We worked that way for a couple of days as i remember. We had phone service and made calls to emergency folks to get info. Our general manager lived in Dunthorpe and he and his family moved to Hilton Hotel for three weeks before they got power back! I was told at one point 95% of electric power in valley was out. Only exceptions being downtown Portland and downtown Salem which had underground services. Another thing I remember was everywhere you went for weeks you could hear chain saws as folks cut up downed trees.

What a day…and a great day for the radio industry to provide a badly needed service. Jim Howe