Just a quick update: I don't have time right now to do justice to the subject.
Kevin Warner, the Douglas District Ranger, told a gathering (which filled the Portal Fire Station classroom) that walkers and cyclists can now enter Cave Creek Canyon. Most cars are not allowed in at this time.
Crews working on the Cave Creek Canyon Road, FR 42, have repaired a number of washed-out places already, but the entire job will take a long time. Kevin mentioned his hope that repairs will be finished in time for the 2015 birding season, beginning in March.
At this time, the Forest Service has begun to send a pilot car up the canyon twice a day, to guide workers to and from the Southwest Research Station, so that they don't have to make the long trip around through Paradise. Dawn is trying to get more flexibility in that arrangement.
Although Howard couldn't be present, we volunteered him to be the person who will collect updates from the Forest Service as repairs are made and roads are reopened, and post them to the Portal-Rodeo website. That website address is given here in my sidebar under "Links".