Saving Riverview Circle: The trickle

The three families who stayed behind to fight the Red River in the southern Moorhead, Minnesota neighborhood of Riverview Circle, are mostly on their own. Some firefighters with the Moorhead and Callahan Fire Departments are with them.

But up at the sandbagging station outside the Johnson’s home, the “volunteers” now are all family members of Todd and Donna Morse and John Brummer next door. A family friend who works for the Morses, Adam Stewart, is loading sandbags into a truck. “Yesterday my wife was teaching college boys how to make sandbags,” he said, adding, “God, I love that woman!”

The concern is a trickle-turned-river from the dike a storm drain that’s growing. There’s tremendous pressure on these sandbags right now and Todd and his relatives and friends are throwing sandbags into the water, entrapped by a black tarp.

The stench of mineral spirits permeates the Morse house. A pump with bad gas isn’t working and the carburetor is being cleaned to try to coax it back to a useful life.

John Brummer has sandbagged around his house. His son his here and his daughter, a member of the Air National Guard, has arrived, but I overheard a Moorhead firefighter say, “that’s an awful lot of water to be coming from a dike.” (As it turned out, it’s not coming from the dike.) Abut a half hour later, I also overheard him report to another fire official, “we think we’re getting ahead of it out at the street where a city pump has been hurling water back at the Red for the last four hours. He added, however, “if we don’t get this fixed….we could be in trouble.”

After Mark Seeley’s appearance on Midday, I called him and asked him to talk to John and from I understand, there was some encouragement that at least as far as water levels beyond the dike, it’s not getting noticeably worse. Beyond that, much of the information you’re hearing on MPR and reading on the Web site, isn’t getting through here; there’s no time to listen to the radio.

In that way, perhaps, Riverview Circle is cut off in more ways than one. Occasionally, I duck inside to file a blog update or video, and feel guilty that I’m not back outside helping. I check the comments and find messages from around the country for these three families — and the Red River Valley at large — and their eyes brighten when I relay them.

If clinging to hope and three families’ refusing to quit is all it took to beat back a flood, the Red River would be a punch-drunk loser.

But it takes more. The unanswered question, however, is how much more?

(To see all of the flood posts, go here)