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One year anniversary of the flood

June 2, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
It's hard to believe that it has already been a year since the flood. About this time last year I was interviewing people who had been evacuated from their homes and didn't know when they'd be able to return. For weeks last summer I could see the river slowly encroaching on the parking lot a few hundred feet from the newspaper office. We didn't know for awhile if it would flood the building or not.

I was lucky, since neither my home or the newspaper was flooded. I know a lot of people who lost everything. For the most part, nothing has really changed for me personally, which makes me feel guilty and grateful by turns.

But I also think it was impossible to live in the city this year and fail to be affected by the flood. I waded through foul-smelling debris to interview flood survivors and have driven through neighborhoods filled with flooded homes that resemble the aftermath of a war. Too many of the people I have known for over a decade have moved away, many because they can't afford to live here any longer.

I haven't been able to bring myself to walk in the flooded Oak Park, which was so beautiful just before the flood and which I walked in every night during the summer. I remember complaining about the geese in the park that attacked me on the walking path just weeks before it all changed. I interviewed the Girl Scouts during their camp at Camp Owetti in Oak Park in the summer of 2010. They probably won't be able to return to that beautiful camp any time soon. I'm also reminded of other changes, such as the ongoing oil boom and population growth, that make me hesitant to walk in the park at dusk. Minot is still a safer place than most, but it's still probably wise to take precautions.

We talk a great deal about hope and recovery and it's nice to see "I'm coming back" signs in people's yards, but I find myself grieving the losses right now more than usual, maybe because it's the one year anniversary of the flood. How has your life changed since the flood?


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