MOORHEAD —The flood of 2019 has largely been a nonevent in Moorhead, which spent millions of dollars on buyouts and flood mitigation projects after the record-setting flood of 2009.

So, it might be surprising to some to see a huddle of homes near Moorhead's Woodlawn Park that have the Red River lapping at their front door.

The neighborhood is known as Woodlawn Point and as of Tuesday, April 9, one home, at 307 Elm Street, was sitting in water while the house next door at 311 Elm had waist-deep water in the basement.

In the video below taken by a drone on Monday, April 8, the neighborhood comes into view about 50 seconds into the video:

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An owner of the home in water declined to comment for this story, and it was unclear Tuesday whether anyone was residing there.

A man living in the house next door also declined to speak at length, but confirmed there was water in the basement of the home.

He said it had happened many times before in times of flood and eventually the house drains of water when river levels fall.

Both people reached for this story expressed a desire for privacy.

A pair of homes near Woodlawn Park in Moorhead are in an area that city officials say is nearly impossible to defend against during serious flooding. Dave Olson / The Forum
A pair of homes near Woodlawn Park in Moorhead are in an area that city officials say is nearly impossible to defend against during serious flooding. Dave Olson / The Forum

The homes are owned by different families, but in both cases the properties have remained in one family for many years, in one case at least since the early 1950s and in the other case at least since the 1960s.

Moorhead City Engineer Bob Zimmerman said during major floods the city will, at a certain point, shut off sewer service to homes affected by water in order to protect the rest of the system and he said the same goes for electrical power.

Also, he said, city code requires any home damaged by flooding to have a damage assessment done prior to a building permit being issued.

City records indicate building permits were issued in the past for both Elm Street properties following past floods, with the work including things like replacing or reinstalling furnaces and replacing walls and flooring.

City officials have said in the past that the elevation of some properties in Woodlawn Point are so low that employing protective structures is difficult if not impossible.

Zimmerman said at one time or another all of the properties in the Woodlawn Point neighborhood were offered buyouts, adding that the city's buyout program has always been voluntary and homeowners are not required to participate.

Over the years, some property owners accepted buyouts from the city and today about seven homes remain in Woodlawn Point, which is dominated by vacant lots.