Widespread flooding in the Salem area forced scrambling residents to pile sandbags in hopes of protecting homes and businesses.
"If you are in a safe location and not in danger due to rising water, we ask that you stay where you are," said police spokesman Lt. Dave Okada, in a city news release.
On Thursday, parents with children in the Salem-Keizer School District were told to pick up their students early due to the flooding. Classes and activities were canceled for Friday.
Earlier Thursday in Salem, a school bus driver hit high water and lost control, leaving it tipped in the flood waters.
"Once it was tipped over, water starting filling the bus, and when I left, it was halfway full of water," said Summer Grimes, who was on the bus.
The quick-rising waters also swallowed up some of Salem's busiest streets, closing many of them.
"They were closing off streets this morning when we were on our way to school. Over State Street was all flooded," says Kristie Cortines, a Salem resident. "A lot of these people's houses are flooding and they are having to deal with a lot of stuff."
Nearby neighborhoods are under more than 2 feet of water in some places. Salem businesses were also hit hard.
"Hopefully the water will stop. And hopefully, we don't hurt our walls. That's the one that's going to hurt us bad," says Gi Gi Wolf, who owns Dave's Taekwon-Do with her husband.
In nearby small towns like Turner and Scio, dozens of homes were evacuated and roughly 100 families headed for higher ground.
Two deaths have been reported since the flooding began. An overflowing creek in Albany led to the death of a toddler and his mother Wednesday night when a driver's car became swept up by Perrywinkle Creek.
Salem police say most of the creeks in the Salem area are at very high levels and will continue to rise.
The water level of the Willamette River is currently 21 feet in Salem and city officials project it will crest at a level of approximately 30 feet sometime on Friday. Major flood stage is considered to be 32 feet.
The weather also has forced several busy Portland roads to temporarily close Thursday.
Southwest Skyline Boulevard was closed between West Burnside Road and Fairhaven Drive because of a landslide Thursday night. Northwest Cornell Road was also closed between Northwest Thompson Street and Northwest Westover Road because of downed trees and power lines.