NEAR CORVALLIS - Strong winds in the Bitterroot Valley caused major damage to a horse rescue operation Monday night.
“I woke up about midnight, and I grew up in Florida so I’ve been through hurricanes, and it sounded like a hurricane,” said Debora Lay, Executive Director of Wings Programs, Inc.
A strong wind event brought down the wall of a barn with rescue animals inside. Fortunately, none of the two dozen animals living on site were injured.
Louise is a rescued donkey, and she was in this stall when it happened. She’s been taking refuge at Wings Programs for a couple years now after being rescued.
Besides where the wall of the barn got ripped down, there were also some buckets and debris that got blown around the property.
“Horses were all excited this morning, carrying on. But tents are all standing, so just needed some adjustment, some tightening, some shoring up," Lay said. "So I had to bring in guys this morning for some extra help this morning to get all the shelters established, make sure they are safe.”
Other flimsier structures nearby were undamaged, except for a chicken coop that was knocked over.
KPAX Chief Meteorologist Erin Yost says this weather event could have been caused by down sloping winds occurred out ahead of the passing cold front. The Bitterroot Valley had wind west to south westerly gusts in the 30-50 mph range earlier in the morning as this happened. It is entirely possible that the nearby canyons enhanced wind speeds allowing for localized and very isolated damage.
Lay is waiting to hear from her property management company about when the structure will be fixed. Until then, they might not be able to accept more rescue animals that need to be indoors at night.