Saving Riverview Circle: Taking punches. Throwing punches


Flood fatigue. It’s been only one week since Moorhead residents like Vikki and Bruce Johnson of Riverview Circle first learned they had to start preparing for the worst. That’s two fewer weeks than they had in 1997. You may recall earlier in the week, Bruce said that when they were out sandbagging last Saturday, the river was so far away they wondered why they were out there.

Photographer Jeff Thompson took this picture Friday morning and I think it captures everybody and everything pretty well.

I was relieved to hear from Vikki (in comments in the thread upstream) this evening:


Hey Bob, Bruce and I are fine. Bruce stayed behind when we evacuated earlier today. I went back home around 8 tonight. Our dike is strong and our pumps are working. Brian Cole, Moorhead Orchestra teacher is manning our pumps so Bruce can sleep! Another one of those theatre guys to the rescue! The battle is not over – the river has not won! We will continue to fight on!


Vikki and I talked earlier today. I encourage you to listen.

  1. Listen Vikki Johnson on the rigors of fighting a flood

    March 27, 2009

A few minutes later, Donna and Todd Morse were planning their strategy for the day.


When the big equipment isn’t moving, the volunteers aren’t around, and when the sun goes down, I imagine it can get pretty lonely. So reader Jeff Olsen’s picture tonight provides a good reminder that plenty of people are still sending help.


Shortly after the evacuation, I was on All Things Considered.

  1. Listen Bob Collins interviewed on All Things Considered

Driving over to Rothsay (the only motel I could find a room available), I saw three empty buses from the Twin Cities, a lot flatbed trucks, and some construction equipment heading toward Fargo-Moorhead.

The latest projection for a crest looks like this (See updates here)


The crest stays through April Fool’s Day.

It looks like I’ll be back up on Riverview Circle later on Saturday morning. It may be the last day I’ll be in the area. I’ve got to restock and then return. These people can take a punch. And they can throw one.

Until I get back up there, I hope family members will continue to post updates below. Vikki, Bruce, Todd, Donna, John and Jeanie and their families have a lot of friends they’ve never met.

  • Todd and Donna Morse

    Hi Bob and all…

    It is 1:54am and we are heading to get some rest for the night. We haven’t had time to read what Bob has wrote, so I wanted to take some time tonight to do that and let Bob know we are back home. When I read so many words of encouragement, it gives me the extra push that is needed to continue…thank you!

    When they asked us to leave today and everyone was running, we left our home but not the neighborhood. Decided to come home again, leave again, and come home again…all within about a 20 minute period. We agreed that we have worked way too hard to throw in the towel now and believe that we can win this fight. We’re exhausted, yet we have had such great help in fighting this monster that it’s hard not to become overwhelmed with gratitude to so many. I’m not a very good storyteller, so I’ll leave that up to Bob and fill him in on all that went on after the streets become lonely again tonight.

    Sorry you had to drive to Rothsay, Bob. I am so grateful that you are documenting our story as we really don’t have time to look at the big picture of this as we are so stinkin’ busy just trying to deal with each new curve ball!

    I have to share with everyone that our family is developing a great friendship with Bob and truly appreciate the way he pitches in to help with WHATEVER needs to be done. Didn’t even give it a second thought today when I yelled up the stairs for Bob to go ask Todd to come and take a look at the water that was coming into the basement! He is now part of us and believe it when he says he isn’t leaving until we do! Thanks Bob.

    Hoss is on night watch again tonight so please pray for his safety as it’s dark and the walls are very icy…he’s exhausted too! Todd is hurting right now. Not just from all the physical work that he has done over the past 8 days, but it seems he has strained his knee. We’ll see how it is in the morning to make a decision as to if it needs to be looked at by the doctor.

    Again, thank you for all your encouraging words and prayers…they are greatly appreciated. Mr. “Sandman” is taking over and I must shut my eyes. Good Night!