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Moorhead sets policy for sandbags

The Moorhead City Council on Monday spelled out the process it will use to disseminate sandbags this spring and it wrestled with the question of which permanent flood diversion plan to endorse.

The Moorhead City Council on Monday spelled out the process it will use to disseminate sandbags this spring and it wrestled with the question of which permanent flood diversion plan to endorse.

Sandbag distribution

When it comes to how sandbags will be divvied up, city officials said the plan is to pre-fill 300,000 bags, which will ultimately be delivered to neighborhoods around the city, particularly to homes near the river.

The bag filling is happening with help from volunteers at a heated building in north Moorhead, where 97,000 bags have been filled so far.

City officials said they would like to see that work continue until two automated "spider" machines arrive, which could happen by the end of the week.


The machines will also require volunteer help to operate.

After the 300,000 sandbag goal is reached, or starting March 22, whichever comes first, Moorhead will release empty bags to people who want to fill them on their own.

Also, at that point Moorhead will reimburse homeowners for sand they buy on their own, as long as purchases are approved by neighborhood "zone" leaders who will assist city staff in steering resources to where they are needed.

Zone meetings

Starting today, Moorhead will begin holding meetings in eight zones around the city to let residents know who their neighborhood leaders are and to provide other flood information.

City Engineer Bob Zimmerman said invitations have been sent to specific homes, letting residents know where and when their particular meetings will be held.

Officials said the city is opting for small-scale meetings to keep them manageable, but they said the information shared at the meetings will be made available on the city's Web site at www.cityofmoorhead.com , as well as on a special flood Web site the city is in the process of setting up.

Diversion preference


Council member Nancy Otto said Monday that the work group tasked with picking a locally preferred diversion option could make its decision by March 18, and she asked the council for guidance on how Moorhead's delegation should vote.

Voxland suggested the council specifically back a 35,000-cubic-feet-per-second North Dakota diversion, as opposed to a diversion channel in Clay County.

Questions arose regarding what the possible ramifications of that choice might be if Congress or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ultimately reject it.

Council members made no decision Monday regarding a diversion preference.

Bogged down

City Manager Michael Redlinger said the moving of flood-buyout homes from areas near the Red River has been put on hold until temperatures drop. He said muddy conditions are preventing house movers from working on homes tagged for removal.

Moorhead council OKs emergency declaration

The council gave its approval Monday to a declaration made by Mayor Mark Voxland indicating Moorhead is in a state of emergency as it prepares for what could be a major flood fight this spring.


A similar declaration is expected from the Clay County Commission today.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com.
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