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Flooding evacuees in Eagle could be displaced for awhile

Posted: 6:06 PM, Jun 03, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-03 20:22:53-04

The Boise River is raging this weekend with increased flows now above 9,400 cubic-feet-per-second.

Water is surging beyond its banks in locations across the Treasure Valley.

In Eagle, dozens of evacuated residents are trying to figure out when they can go back home.

With crews brought in recently to suck the water out, Riviera Estates residents were hopeful the mobile home park would soon re-open but that will not be the case.

Practically dried up on Thursday, the water crept back in on Friday leaving them frustrated.

"It's starting to seem like they don't want us here. I mean, the park is starting to flood again... where's police and fire and everybody that helped out at first," asked Tony Fratto, a Riviera Estates resident. "Why aren't they down here trying to figure out how to stop this."

It all leads back to water being released from the dams to avoid a system overload. Chief Patrick Calley with the Ada County Sheriff's Office says water naturally seeks a path with the least resistance. So, the Boise River flow heads to the nearby canal system and once that fills up, it ends up at the Riviera Estates.

Even when it dries out, water saturation brings about new concerns.

"What we have to do to get people back into a home that's been evacuated for a flood is we've got to get the water to go away first. Then, you've got to make assessments on all the utilities... sewer, gas, water, electricity," Chief Calley said. "All those work within each other, and it can be very complicated."

Some mobile home owners are still in disbelief.

"It was quite a shock when it all happened. You just get up one morning, step out your door and it's like whoa," said J.R. VanHoover, who is still staying at the Riviera Estates. "And, when it did happen, it happened quick."

Like VanHoover, others are buying a generator and moving back in with no where else to go.

"My kids are all home sick," said Alisha Cowger, who plans to move back home.

Six On Your Side was at the neighborhood meeting held Saturday morning. Residents learned they will be lucky if they only have to wait a month longer to move back in.

One of the land owners said no fees will be due until the situation is resolved.

"This is a long-term plan and a hold for us," said Pete Whitehead, co-owner of the Riviera Mobile Home Park. "So, we have no plans of selling or developing or kicking people out or anything like that."                  

Whitehead said the number one goal is to get people back in their homes and come up with ways to help prevent this from happening in the future.

Until then, residents appreciate any help the public can provide. Fratto has a GoFundMe account set up:  https://www.gofundme.com/tony-fratto-flooding-help .

"We live in a beautiful area despite the ponds in all of our yards right now. This is quiet and serene and I love the school district," Cowger said. "We're not going anywhere."

The American Red Cross evacuation shelter remains in stand-by mode at the Eagle Church of the Nazarene and can be activated within two hours. Anyone in need is advised to call 1-800-272-6668 and ask for the duty officer on call.

The Idaho Humane Society is also housing pets for displaced residents, free of charge.