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Some Evergreen merchants manage to stay open during Friday's flooding

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By Daniel Laverty; Deb Hurley Brobst and Doug Bell

Many businesses were closed Friday in downtown Evergreen as Bear Creek's waters raced and roiled nearby, but a few establishments remained open.

Highland Haven Creekside Inn just east of downtown was still open, and so far Bear Creek had not overflowed its banks on that stretch, said Michael Hargesheimer, the bed-and-breakfast's caretaker.
"The water hasn't come over the rock wall," said Hargesheimer, who has lived here since 1976 and says he's never seen flooding this severe.
Though the bed-and-breakfast is open, it's virtually impossible to get there because Highway 74 is closed.

Elsewhere downtown, the Tin Star Cafe and the Wildflower Cafe remained open, though most shops closed their doors.

Bryce Lipson, an employee at the Tin Star, said business had been sporadic Friday morning amid the high water and road closures.

"It's been steady-slow, not rocking busy," Lipson said.

At the Wildflower, owner Chris Mills was defiant of the wet weather, saying his establishment is known for staying open during difficult conditions.

"We only close Christmas Day," Mills said. "People know they can depend on the Wildflower. We have people climbing the hillside to get here."

He said the cafe would remain open on Friday till its regular closing time of 2 p.m.

"Everyone comes in saying, 'Thank you for being open.' It's a big bloody mary and mimosa day. Eveybody is hanging out out front, watching the raging river."

Meanwhile, dozens of people milled around downtown on Friday morning.

“There’s no way to describe this,” Evergreen resident Stephanie Anliker said of the creek’s fast-flowing current.

Anliker said she spent about two hours Friday morning helping a man move belongings from his house. She said the water was close to damaging the home, which was near Main Street and Meadow Drive.

“We helped this man and moved everything out safely,” she said. “It was a great community effort.”

Main Street and its parking lots were empty of cars Friday, except for the emergency vehicles that blocked the Highway 73/74 intersection.

Jordan Wofford, armed with a bucket and waterproof boots, scooped up water in front of Cactus Jack’s Saloon, which he then dumped over the bridge into the creek.

“This is a community, and we’re all in this together,” Wofford said. “This is my hometown. I had my first drink in that bar when I turned 21. This place means something to me, and I think it means a lot to other people.

“I’ve lived here since 1991. I don’t remember anything like this,” he said.