/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Flood turns Minn. prairie town into temporary island (audio)

by Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio
April 13, 2011

Oslo, Minn - With all roads leading into Oslo closed because of the flooding Red River, the small town 25 miles north of Grand Forks is an island until the water recedes

More than a dozen National Guard soldiers are helping the isolated community of about 400 patrol the levee system The floodwater was expected to crest Wednesday and remain high for about a week, according to the National Weather Service

City officials say three consecutive years of major floods have not only been inconvenient, but tough on local businesses

Even though Oslo is surrounded by floodwater, Main Street is quiet and dry, with no sandbags in sight That's a stark contrast to 1950, when businesses and homes were underwater and residents needed motor boats to get through town

That changed in the early 1970s, when the Army Corps of Engineers built a permanent levee around most of town The levee has never failed, so people don't worry much about their property getting flooded
What hasn't changed is the isolation When floodwaters spill across the surrounding farmland, the roads are covered, too

Lots of residents get out of town just before the roads close, said Karen Cote, Oslo's city clerk and treasurer Those who stay could be stuck here for several weeks

"We have an airboat that brings supplies in and out If we have emergencies, the boat is there to get people out," Cote said "Everyone just stocks up and they know that it comes to that So the people who want to leave town to make sure they get to their jobs, they move out"

The isolation is hard on local businesses When the roads close, Oslo becomes almost a ghost town, said Rod Dalstrom, who co-owns a family car dealership that's been in downtown Oslo since 1905

That's because most people work outside of town and have to stay elsewhere when the roads close

"The restaurant feels it, the grocery store feels it, the gas station feels it," Dahlstrom said "We feel it I mean, everybody does It's just a really, really bad inconvenience for us"

Dahlstrom, who lives in Grand Forks, will work via computer until the water recedes He hopes to someday see a permanent fix

"The people who want to leave town to make sure they get to their jobs, they move out"
- Karen Cote, Oslo's city clerk and treasurer

"We've asked for years to have somebody do something about the roads coming into town to build them up a little bit - and that doesn't seem to be happening," he said "The state of Minnesota seems to like to spend a lot of money every year fixing the road out here in order to just have it ready for the next flood"

Finding a solution to flooded roads is a long-term goal for Oslo Mayor Scott Kosmatka, who recently watched water rushing toward Highway 1, Oslo's only south entrance

Kosmatka wants lawmakers to revisit a state law from the 1980s that prevents them from raising the road Elevating a roadway in this part of the state can send water in unintended directions, including across state lines into North Dakota

Improving road access into Oslo during a flood might save the state money in the long run, the mayor said
"Highway 1 gets tore up every year," he said "It's silly to be spending that much money year after year after year"

City officials may not have a solution to their flooded roads, but they are getting money to improve their flood protection Right now, the Army Corps of Engineers has to come in each year and build a 2,000-foot temporary levee close to the river to close a gap

Oslo will use $65 million in state funds to make that permanent

The bad news is that the town will have to buy out some properties Ultimately, that could mean the loss of some of Oslo's population

"There's 20 properties with 16 of those being homes That's 10 percent," Kosmatka said "We hate to lose anybody, but it's just necessary for the betterment of the city"

The buyouts in Oslo will begin this fall The city hopes to convince some of those families to move their homes to other locations in town Construction on the final link of permanent levee starts next spring

Article source

See more on Minnesota National Guard flood response

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

100 Years Ago, Camp Cody's "Grand Old Man" formed 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2018-01-18  12:59 PM
Gen. Augustus Blocksom Decorated veteran Augustus Blocksom was a man of his time, but times were changing. He exemplified Progressive Era America prior to the Great War. Blocksom participated in all the major US Army campaigns for nearly a half-century. He fought American Indians, Spaniards, Chinese and Filipinos. He brought that experience to Camp Cody, New Mexico where he assembled units from across the mid-West to form the 34th Infantry Division in 1917.

Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.

Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.

Article archive