'Gustnado' rips roof off dugout in Cook Park
Coach Jared Ravich's Tigard Little League team, the Blue Coyotes, had just finished winning their baseball game Saturday evening on Field 2 in Tigard's Cook Park when a gust of wind tore off corrugated metal roofing of the opposing team's dugout.
In seconds, it deposited the roofing near first base as a handful of coaches and a few players were still picking up the infield.
The incident, which occurred shortly after 6 p.m., is what the National Weather Service described as a "gustnado" — all caught on video by Ravich, who tapes each game to discuss with his team afterwards.
"Right after that roof blew off, I realized, 'Oh wow, I'm still recording,'" he said of the video, which has now been requested by a variety of different agencies around the world.
Ravich said both he and opposing team's head coach Todd Hobson of the Titans were looking for their first win of the season Saturday night. While all of the Blue Coyotes' four prior games had been called after surpassing the 2 hour and 50 minute limit, Saturday's night game was different.
"Miraculously, on Saturday, we were just cruising right along and so by the time by the time we got to the sixth inning, there was plenty of time left on the clock. We could have kept playing, but we were the home team and we were we had a nice lead, so we didn't have to bat in the bottom of the sixth," Ravich said.
That was fortunate, because only minutes later when the infield had already been clear of players and the Blue Coyotes were high-fiving in their dugout after the team's 13-5 win over the Titans, that the "entire steel corrugated roof came flying off the dugout, spilling down right about the first base."
"If we had been still playing, my first baseman might have been right there," said Ravich, adding that the wooden sheathing covering the dugout remained intact.
The Titan's Hobson can be seen on the field with two or three of his players, along with his daughter, whom he grabbed and ushered to safety when the gust came up, said Ravich.
"We got lucky for sure," Hobson later said about the fact no one was hurt.
Miles Higa, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service's Portland office, said "gustnadoes" are rare but not unheard of weather occurrences.
"It's associated with a (rain) shower and more like a dust devil than a tornado," said Higa. "It would be hard to establish the wind (speed) on that."
Ravich said at the time, everything looked like it was floating in the air, but looking at the video, it all occurred within seconds.
While the season has proved to be a little strange weatherwise — a player was out to bat with the sun in his face and one pitch later, it was hailing — this was the most unusual phenomenon Ravich said he's experienced in almost a decade of coaching baseball.
Ravich works as a software engineer for Major League Baseball and as a photographer for MLB Pipeline.
Since he posted the video over the weekend, Ravich has been inundated with requests.
"I've got a call from the National Weather Service to ask me about what happened which was fascinating and then I've gotten requests from Seattle and New York, someone in Dublin, someone in Geneva, Switzerland, (the) U.K. People are interested in it, I guess," he said.
On Monday morning, Tigard Parks & Recreation Department staff surveyed the damaged dugout.
"The Tigard Facilities Team will help to evaluate whether the metal roof should be replaced with similar material and more robust fasteners," said Marissa Grass, a spokesperson for Tigard Parks & Recreation.
Martin McKnight, Tigard Parks supervisor, said, "The Parks & Recreation team is focused on making sure the area is safe and secure. We'll look to make any needed repairs at all four dugouts."
In 2021, the infield was upgraded with artificial turf.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.