Moorhead patrol beefs up in areasMoorhead Mayor Mark Voxland said residents who have voluntarily evacuated their homes – including him – want to know when they can go home.
By: Mike Nowatzki, INFORUM
Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland said residents who have voluntarily evacuated their homes – including him – want to know when they can go home.
City officials were working Sunday to answer that question, trying to figure out the proper level of the Red River that will make it safe for homeowners to return, he said.
As a precautionary measure, the city has strongly urged about 2,600 households to voluntarily evacuate, the majority of them in the city’s southern half, Voxland said.
“We do want to get you back at the right time,” he said. “We will be giving out general announcements as we get closer to when you can come back to your homes.”
In the meantime, the Moorhead Police Department, Minnesota National Guard and law enforcement officers from all over the state are beefing up patrols in evacuated areas, which are “pretty deserted,” Voxland said.
Police Chief David Ebinger said authorities will be checking the identification of those coming into evacuated areas to confirm that they live in the area.
“If you are going into these areas with the intention of committing any crime whatsoever, be prepared to leave in the back of a Humvee or a squad,” he said.
Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist said authorities also are patrolling evacuated areas of Oakport Township and Georgetown.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is making damage assessments in the area.
“We, of course, are going to push to qualify for everything we can possibly qualify for” in terms of public and individual assistance, she said.
Residents were asked to conserve water, as the city’s sanitary sewer system was operating at capacity or under water west of Eighth Street South of Main Avenue, and west of Highway 75 north of Main Avenue, City Engineer Bob Zimmerman said. Voxland urged residents to plug lower-level drains.
Zimmerman said he didn’t know how many homes had water or sewer backup in their basements. Moorhead Public Service General Manager Bill Schwandt said 32 homes had their power disconnected because of water in their basements.
Five homes had been lost to flooding as of midday, including two in the 3700 block of Rivershore Drive, said City Manager Michael Redlinger.
Bergquist said one of his deputies lost his home to flooding south of the city.
“He’s here now working, so everybody is having a tough time. We just need to keep working together, and we will fight it,” he said.
Redlinger said there will be no residential garbage pickup in Moorhead this week. Residents may take their trash to the city transfer station from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and they won’t be charged a volume-based fee, he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528