News, Traffic, Weather

Fern Hill Road is open again

Fern Hill Road reopened Monday to traffic following a March 1 closure due to flooding.

Two gates—one at Taylor Way and one at Geiger Road—on Fern Hill Road were shut Friday as floodwaters overtook the road.

In times of heavy rain, it’s always a good idea to check out the cameras on to see if it’s closed or not.

One of our readers asked “why do you cover the opening and closing of Fern Hill Road, it’s not in Gales Creek?”

Great question, reader! Several reasons.

First up, Fern Hill Road is a very popular route to take to the east side of the county from both Forest Grove and Gales Creek. A common route is to take Gales Creek Road to Stringtown Road (click here for info on a two month closure coming to Stringtown Rd.), then briefly to B Street, then Highway 47, then Fern Hill Road. When the gates are up, you have to go a different way. Most people who live in Gales Creek work elsewhere, so we try to keep an eye on the most popular roads in and out of the region.

It’s the same reason we cover traffic issues on Highway 6 heading into Banks and to Tillamook, and traffic issues on Gales Creek Road even in the city of Forest Grove.

A second reason? We’re the Gales Creek Journal, we cover the community and the creek. When Fern Hill Road closes, it’s often partially Gales Creek’s (the stream) fault. That giant field next to Fern Hill Road that turns into a lake and then covers the road is fed by the Tualatin River and the very tail end of Gales Creek as it empties into the river just a few hundred feet away.

It’s also a great indicator of localized flooding that’s easy for this newspaper to track. There are traffic cameras in the area and Washington County usually puts out an alert when the gates go up.

When Fern Hill Road floods, it’s a good idea to be thinking of other flood-prone areas, like near Balm Grove, or that stream of water that comes down David Hill Road on Gales Creek Road that has been the source of several car crashes near Rippling Waters. So if you see a story up about Fern Hill, chances are, Gales Creek locales may be in danger of inundation as well.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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