Russian River flooding is affecting Kodiak residents

Russian River flooded last week in Kodiak leaving some residents scrambling to address the damage.

Listen now

Larry Evans woke up in the middle of the night and thought he should throw another log into his wood stove. But when he walked down stairs he found a surprise.

“Flipped on the light and got to the landing and everything was floating,” Evans said. “I just got tears in my eyes. I didn’t know what, I just…memories, everything just everything…floating.”

The entire first floor of his house was underwater. He acted fast. Evans and one his sons got a pump going and did whatever they could to salvage their belongings. The water did finally recede, but even days later, Evans can still see signs of flooding in his yard.

“You can see all the grass is laid flat like a river ran through here, because it did,” Evans said.

The Russian River runs behind his house, but Evans said it’s never flooded like this before. He’s also surprised by the amount of rain it took to raise it. The National Weather Service estimates Kodiak got over two inches of rain during the week of the flooding.

Upstream is where the water breached the riverbank and created a channel that shot towards Evans and his family. Andrew Finke lives near where this happened. He said the river’s path has changed over the last year, which is making it flood more often.

“That didn’t use to affect anybody’s property, but with how the channel has changed its flooding in in a different way,” Finke said.

This makes Finke nervous.

“It could start flooding people’s septic tanks which could then cause people’s wells to be contaminated,” Fink said. “We’re standing on Leda St. It’s been eroding away. I’d guessing we’ve lost another four feet of it.”

Finke and other concerned residents showed up at a recent Kodiak Island Borough Assembly work session and asked for help. Borough manager Michael Powers said they’re monitoring the situation, but its options are limited.

Back at Larry Evans’ house, fans are running nonstop. He’s walking through pointing out what he’s done so far. The water was a foot deep, so there’s a lot of work to do.

“This is how I started,” Evans said. “It was soaked all the way up here. I’m trying to get it as dry as possible.”

Evans doesn’t want mold to grow, so he’s ripping out all the affected carpet, drywall and insulation. Evans thinks the damages will be in the thousands, but he feels like the community is rallying around him.

“All I could think of that night was what am I gonna do and uh, well today I got some kind of hope anyway,” Evans said.

Evans said “some” good Samaritan dumped a load of gravel in front of where the river flooded, so hopefully that will protect his house for now.