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Weiser hospital helps Ridley’s open temporary market

Five greenhouses at Purple Sage Farms collapsed under the weight of December’s snowstorms. Three greenhouses are standing, but are missing their plastic covering, which employees cut as a preemptive measure.
Five greenhouses at Purple Sage Farms collapsed under the weight of December’s snowstorms. Three greenhouses are standing, but are missing their plastic covering, which employees cut as a preemptive measure. kjones@idahostatesman.com

After Weiser’s only grocery store buckled under the weight of record snowfall this week, the city’s hospital came to the rescue — doing triage on Ridley’s Family Market and keeping it alive.

Weiser Memorial Hospital CEO Steve Hale called a special meeting of the board Friday to consider a request from owner Mark Ridley, who asked to move temporarily into a building that had been earmarked for hospital offices.

The board said yes.

“The damage to Ridley’s store is a big loss for the community,” Hale said. “We are happy that this will allow 60 Ridley’s employees to go back to work and will give the community a local resource again for their groceries.”

Ridley’s is among likely hundreds of buildings and structures damaged by the ice and snow that a record winter has dumped on the Treasure Valley.

Weiser’s Washington County alone has lost about 100 buildings, according to Steve Penner, public information officer for Washington County Disaster Services.

The county’s fifth major collapse was late this week — a maintenance storage shed belonging to the Simplot agriculture company, he said.

“We lost a porch awning today, and [got a] report of a partially collapsed house,” he said Friday evening.

More than 90 reports of building damage were compiled as of Friday afternoon by Tri-County Love INC, a Christian nonprofit. The executive director is building a database of structures that have caved in, collapsed or been damaged by the winter.

The database, which draws from social media and news reports, includes dozens of structures in Ontario, Oregon.

And it’s full of onions.

At least 18 onion storage and packing facilities have fallen victim to the snowfall, wiping out 25 percent of southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon’s onion production.

Audrey Dutton: 208-377-6448, @audreydutton

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