TILLAMOOK, Ore.—A torrential downpour in December flooded a tire dealership in this coastal Oregon town, causing an estimated $40,000 in damage. Coast Tire Factory owner Steve Baertlein never thought his dealership, located about a mile from the Wilson River, was in much danger of flooding. But, when nearly 6 inches of rain fell in a 14-hour span on Dec. 27, Coast Tire and about 30 businesses were impacted.
Mr. Baertlein said the National Weather Service initially had predicted the river would crest about 2 feet above flood stage on the evening of Dec. 27.
But, when he drove by his dealership at about 5 p.m. that day, he knew he didn't have much time to try to protect his shop.
``As fast as the water was coming, I knew I had about an hour,'' he said.
Mr. Baertlein and his employees stacked some equipment on a lift and raised it and carted away all they could.
By nightfall, the flood waters filled the dealership with more than 4 feet of water.
Two days later, the waters receded and Mr. Baertlein and his four employees surveyed the damage.
``For the first hour, I was in a state of shock,'' he said. Coast Tire lost some major pieces of equipment such as a tire balancer and retreading machinery, and the building sustained some damage.
``We probably had the most water because we're about the lowest,'' he said. Mr. Baertlein said 22 relatives, friends and volunteers helped with the clean up and he expected to be back in full operation by mid-January.
Coast Tire was opened in 1954 by Mr. Baertlein's father and an uncle, and Mr. Baertlein began to buy them out in 1990. It has three regular bays, a truck bay and grosses about $700,000 a year.
The dealership is a member of the Northwest Tire Factory Groupe and sells passenger, truck and off-the-road tires. Coast Tire has sold Kelly tires for more than 40 years and also carries Dunlop, Cooper and Hankook products.
Coast Tire will continue to perform undercar service, but Mr. Baertlein said he doesn't plan to replace his retread unit.
In the aftermath of the flood, Mr. Baertlein and his employees also had to retrieve about 300 used tires and casings which were washed away.
``Most of them ended up across the street behind a Chinese restaurant,'' he said.
Mr. Baertlein also praised his main competitor, Tillamook Tire, another independent dealer which loaned him equipment.
``They'll do whatever it takes to help,'' he said.
Insurance will cover much of the loss, but not all of it Mr. Baertlein said. ``It's hard to recover from an experience like this. It makes you lose focus as far as the business is concerned.''