Small community north of Moorhead prepares for another floodOakport Township, Minn. (WDAY TV) - The latest projections are forcing some community leaders to issue a stern warning to their residents. The Chairman of Oakport Township is telling people to stay vigilant, be aware, and no matter what the forecast, prepare for a flood.
By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY
Oakport Township has battled floods before. In fact, the small community, just north of Moorhead, is still recovering from last year. Now, it looks as though the fight will intensify in the weeks ahead.
The smile on Nick Nelson's face shows just how excited he is to get back into his home.
“It has the country living, plus convenience of town.”
Nelson has lived in Oakport for five years, but for the past three months, his house has been anything but a home.
“The house was surrounded by water, pushed in the foundation, so we got a new basement.”
Work started in October. Crews lifted his house, tore out the foundation and footings, and raised the house two feet.
“I'm prepared to 41 feet.”
“Two years in a row. I don't know how we overcome that. The scars haven't healed from 2009.”
Township Chair Greg Anderson says Oakport is ready to fight again if it comes to that.
“We're ready and we have an idea how to bring the Corps in and building an emergency levee right where the permanent levees go.”
Permanent flood control is already underway. A half mile of levee is built near Wall Street. Leaders have about 80 percent of easements needed to finish the rest of the project.
“We've got a path cleared, own that land, and material.”
Anderson's confidence grows as he thinks about protections already on hand if needed. About 300 yards of clay sits for emergency levees near the water tower. Half a million sandbags are also piled up, waiting to be used. Both saved from last year.
“From the township side, we're so much better prepared.”
It is a comfort for homeowners like Nelson. As he looks over his house, he's keeping his fingers crossed the latest outlook doesn't increase even more.
“35 feet for me is nothing. I ain't going to sweat 35. I'll only worry if 39.”
Anderson says the township is already looking at mistakes made last year, and is more prepared, now that it knows when its lift stations start to fail.