Portland, Michigan marks one year since tornado hit the small Ionia County town

Posted at 5:07 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 18:57:14-04

It’s a happier day in Portland. Just ask Donna Powell.

“Oh my, quite the difference,” she says while mulching flower beds off main street.

Things weren’t good around here one year ago, when an EF-1 tornado brought its 110 MPH winds through town. Buildings were leveled, but have since come back to life.

Outside two of Portland’s longest serving places of worship, workers were putting the finishing touches on a year of rebirth.

“I am amazed at what God has done in rebuilding,” says pastor Gary Coleman of First Baptist Church. “The congregation has weathered it very well. They have grown and adapted.”

On Main Street, the ladies of Studio 176 are doing hair. A year ago they were doing cleanup.

“I can’t believe it’s been a year. Time will heal, right?” says one of the stylists.

Back on Main, Donna Powell says Portland is a “great little town.” Resilient too, she says.

Who would have thought a scene of desperation one year ago would have brought about such unity and sense of place.

At dusk, church bells were to ring, to salute the year-long recovery. Fittingly, at the churches restored.