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'I didn't know where to go': Some residents still recovering from December 2016 ice storm

Ruth Root was forced to move out of her home after the December 2016 ice storm. Three trees fell through the roof of the house, and the damage was extensive. She only resumed living in the house this month. (SBG/File)

EUGENE, Ore. - Ruth Root has lived in Eugene for nearly 40 years, all but two of those in her home at the base of a forested hillside in South Eugene where she raised 6 children and taught piano lessons.

In December 2016, an ice storm hit the region.

Three trees fell through the roof of Root's home.

The damage was extensive.

"I just went out of the house in my pajamas because I didn't know where to go," said Root. "The reality of the horror of it was just mind-numbing."

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The roof, the asbestos ceilings, the power lines - all destroyed.

She wasn't alone.

Thousands of people lost power, many of them for days or even weeks at a time.

Power lines and downed trees crashed through homes and blocked roadways. The cleanup from the storm took months - and continues in some places even now.

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For Root, it's been a long year of repair, and she still has a ways to go.

Over the course of the year, Root has stayed in rentals and with family while contractors went to work.

Now, 12 months later, the job is finally done, and Root is back home.

"It's just amazing, almost unbelievable to me that I could have a place to lay my head and be able to get up and take care of myself," said Root.

But the horrors of last winter still haunt her.

She has all of these boxes, most of them filled with destroyed memories.

"My college yearbooks are ruined," said Root. "They're just moldy, so moldy that when I touch them they fall apart."

So for now, she's just taking it one day at a time.

Every day, she gets one box closer.

"I'm nowhere near able to just live life as you would normally live it," said Root. "In fact, sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be able to."

Little by little, Root will continue to work until the pieces of her home, and her life, are finally put back together.

Root is trying to get the house all fixed up by December 20 so she can have a dinner to thank the friends and neighbors who've supported her. After that, some of her kids will be home for the holidays, so she says that's what she's working toward right now.

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