Historical church in Portland loses its steeple as clean-up continues in the city

PORTLAND, MI (WLNS) – The city of Portland is still picking up the pieces of the town many call home, after a tornado tore through parts of the city Monday.

Demolition in those areas continued Thursday, and the estimated costs of cleanup is rising, and in the millions.

However, compared to how the city looked on Monday after the tornado ripped through, it is slowly coming back together.

But you can’t put a price on those memories lost, and as 6 News found out today, the city is going to take quite a hit when it comes to clean up costs.

As a result of that tornado, First Baptist Church saw a steeple come down Thursday afternoon.

Along with First Baptist, three other churches were damaged, like The First Congressional Church just across the street.

Just days ago, services were performed in between the sanctuary walls that no longer exist, something Pastor of the church, Marilyn Danielson said can be an unsettling feeling.

“It feels like a war zone,” Danielson said. “Hard to see three churches at this end and one at that end all at the same time having structural repairs done.”

As you drive around the city, and see all of the destruction, you can’t help but wonder just how much money will it cost to clean it all up.

6 News spoke with the City Manager, Tutt Gorman who said the city completed it’s damage assessment and came up with approximately $3.2 million in costs so far, and growing.

“And again this is just simply the structures and businesses in around the city,” Gorman said. “This is not including all of the emergency responses, the services, everything the city is doing in cleaning up.”

And though the city may look like a war zone now, and these three historical churches lost, there is optimism about the future as the cleanup continues.

“I just believe it’s going to rise in grand style again and resurrection is part of our faith stands and I believe it will resurrect,” Pastor Danielson said.

Be sure to stay with 6 News as we continue to bring you the latest from Portland, as the city works to clean up and rebuild.

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