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Portland community recovers as flood concerns continue

Portland Flooding.jpg
Portland community recovers as flood concerns continue. (WWMT/Jorge Rodas)

The city of Portland had pulled together as a community during the flooding from ice jams blocking the Grand River, but more flooding could be coming down the pike.

Linda Sandborn woke up Monday knowing she would spend her day sorting through hundreds of items of clothing that she would never get a chance to wear.

“Right now I’m looking for size 13 shoes, so if you know anybody with size 13 foot and wants to get rid of some shoes or boots, I need to know,” said Sandborn.

The Portland native volunteers at the Portland Community Clothes Closet, which operates under an umbrella of the Portland Food Bank.

She said since ice jams lead to serious flooding in the city, clothes have been going fast. Several families were displaced by the floods and needed clothes.

“You know I just want the ice to go away,” Sandborn said.

She said neighbors have helped each other keep going.

“That’s kinda what Portland does, you know,” she said. “We are a cool city.”

The volunteer effort has been something to see, according to Portland Food Bank Treasurer Bill Christian.

The food bank itself suffered flooding and had to change locations in order to keep serving people through the calamity, as Christian calls the flooding.

He said people just showed up and started helping them move to the Portland United Methodist Church.

“They’re not people that I had ever seen before,” he said. “They just showed up and offered their help.”

“From bringing food, to water, to helping actual manual work, to doing the cleaning. Anything that we asked, somebody was there,” said Linda Smith.

City leaders feared more flooding could be on the way. Portland City Manager Tutt Gorman said ice jams upstream from the city could break and cause more flooding in Portland.

“The water has to go somewhere and so it’s going to push and go in the area of least resistance,” he said.

“We want folks to remain vigilant, monitor those water levels closely, and be prepared to self-evacuate if necessary,” Gorman said.

Sandborn said she isn’t worried. She’s confident her city can overcome whatever flooding comes Portland’s way.

“When you get knocked down you just get back up and keep going,” Sandborn said.