On April 5, 1972 a spring thunderstorm’s high winds damaged a lumber warehouse in Tigard. As the storm traveled northeast across town, it broke branches and uprooted trees, and spawned a tornado.
The tornado first touched down on the banks of the Columbia River, damaging four boats moored off the 3300 block of NE Marine Drive. Dozens of cabin cruisers were tossed about. A dry dock, boat houses and other buildings were damaged before the funnel cloud made it to open water and proceeded across the river, where the real damage began.
On April 6, 1972 The Oregonian tallied the damage:
Worst hit was the Waremart discount store on NE 72nd Avenue and Fourth Plain Boulevard, where five persons were killed . . .
The Sunrise Bowling Lanes, across the street from Waremart, was smashed flat, killing Mrs. Sharon Lucille Graser, 30, of 2510 NE 83rd St., Vancouver, as she worked in the Nursery.
Peter Skene Ogden Elementary School at 2212 NE 65th Ave. received the full fury of the wind, but the roof was torn off and scattered northward, miraculously sparing the lives of all 541 students and 21 teachers in their busy classrooms.
The 1972 Portland/Vancouver tornado was the most devastating tornado in Oregon’s recorded weather history. Six people were killed and over 300 were injured.
casey mittleider says
I was 5 yrs. old when the tornado struck, I was at my childhood home 8704 n.e. 59th street in orchards WA. I saw this funnel suck the roof off our neighbors home, Me and my mom were only 40 yards from the twister, we were huddled in the living room, our garage doors were sucked in, and bedroom windows blownout, and cedar shingles missing, we were lucky that , I will never forget that day.
Elura Perdue says
I was working at VMH ER when the emergency call came in….we all thought it was a bus accident…the call stated “a bus full of kids” were coming. As we were caring for the kids, it became clear that it was a tornado instead of a bus crash. It was scary for all of the ER personnel because we began to wonder and worry about our own families as well as the patients.
Casey Mittleider says
Actually the neighborhood consisting of N.E 58th street. 59th street 60th street were hit severely by the twister, 2 homes on 60th street were totally demolished with only the fireplace and 1 wall standing, a deaf gentleman was in one of the houses that was destroyed but survived miraculously. I saw the twister suck off the whole roof of a home on 60th street, this house was kitty corner from my parents home @ 8704 n.e. 59th street. I’m 54 now and this traumatic event is seared into my mind. Casey Mittleider