Ray County flood victims near Orrick met with an official from the Missouri Department of Transportation on Friday but still feel frustrated by the lack of answers.
“Where does the buck stop? Where do you go to get an answer? Whose mind do we have to attack to find a solution?” asked Gary Foote, whose property was flooded by flash flooding on May 15.
Residents were not the only ones flooded earlier this month. Crossroads store and Easley’s Auto Auction were both flooded. Easley’s owners said they lost 28 cars in the flooding. Crossroads’ owner Anthony Gallo said people were stranded at his store for six hours. Gallo said they keep having meetings but nothing gets accomplished.
“We’ve been, probably every one of us, to three or four of these meetings and nothing happens. They tell us what they’re going to do and then we don’t see them again until the next time it floods,” Gallo said. “You guys will come and look at it today and then we won’t see anybody come back.”
Foote told MoDOT engineer Damian Geyer and Rep. Bob Nance, R-Excelsior Springs, that about a dozen households is not enough for the state to pay attention.
“The appearance is the state is trying to procrastinate this into oblivion and it’s not going to happen. It’s going to keep reoccurring and it’s going to occur again this fall,” Foote said. “We’re not an emergency!”
Geyer said a number of different entities are involved in solving the problem, including the Army Corp of Engineers and private landowners.
David Nail with the Orrick Levy District said the main focus needs to be the maintenance of Keeney Creek and addressing the railroad bridge about a mile south of Highway 210 that goes over the creek. Days after the storm piles of brush and debris lined the side of the bridge.
“We can do everything we want up here, but it’s not going to help the situation until we get the bridge done,” Nail said.
Nail said the railroad company spent several thousand dollars a few years ago putting in a 30-inch pipe but that pipe is now clogged as well.
Resident Donnie Wilson said he has called the state several times trying to get someone to clean out the creek, with little or no response.
Nance said there may be some stimulus money in the form of grants available next year but said the state agencies like the State Emergency Management Agency need to get involved, but admitted their cooperation is not likely.
“Once the water recedes they’re not interested,” Nance said.
Gov. Jay Nixon’s Press Secretary Scott Holste told The Daily News on Friday that SEMA would be contacted about the situation but had not returned any information by press time today.
Geyer told residents he was walking the area on Friday and would schedule crews to clean Keeney Creek.
Photo: Ray County resident Gary Foot (left) expresses his frustrations to MoDOT Engineer Damian Geyer (center) and Rep. Bob Nance, R-Excelsior Springs, last Friday morning near Orrick. Nance set up the meeting between area flooding victims and MoDOT. (Photo by Dennis Sharkey/The Daily News)