GARDEN CITY -- Flood water continued to run onto more streets along the Boise River in Garden City on Saturday.
With the river already running above flood stage, an uprooted tree went toppling into the water on Friday, April 28. Since then, it has moved several blocks downstream, causing major flooding from E. 46th to E. 48th streets near Adams Street, in an area filled with businesses, warehouses and mobile homes.
“We’ve got a significant problem there now,” said Garden City Mayor John Evans.
More than three blocks were inundated with water on Saturday night.
“It’s horrible,” Theresa Mooney said. “There’s people’s houses, there’s kids, people are moving out.”
Within just a few hours on Saturday afternoon, the water rose several inches. The Ada County Highway District shut down 46th, 47th and 48th streets.
Officials say pumping water out won’t work, because there’s no place to put it, and new water would flow in.
“It’s a tough situation. It’s not something we can just run out and fix, unfortunately,” Evans said.
Evans says the downed tree has touched off a chain of events that has sent water into low-lying streets and buildings.
“The water is obviously pushing the tree, and it backs up behind it, and that tends to also direct flows laterally as well as downstream,” he said. “So that’s part of the reason it’s being pushed to the side.”
When, or if, the tree will be removed is the big unknown right now. Mayor Evans says the river banks and the Greenbelt are too unstable to place heavy machinery on in order to haul the tree out of the water.
“Not only is the water under and around the Greenbelt that could destabilize it, there's [also] a major piece of sewer infrastructure that runs under the Greenbelt along much of that area."
If the tree moves down to Glenwood bridge, the effects could be catastrophic. The mayor tells us Idaho Transportation Department and other emergency management crews are on standby if it gets close.
"That's going to be a decision on the fly," Evans added. "We're kind of having to manage this hour-by-hour."
This situation is requiring all hands on deck; everyone from emergency responders to road crews say they are monitoring it 24/7. But, it is Mother Nature, and the mayor says there's not a lot they can do at this point.
"Right now, trying to stop the flow over the pathway is a battle that we aren't going to be able to win," Evans said.
Sand bags are in high demand right now. Over the weekend, Garden City residents can fill sand bags themselves at Expo Idaho on Glenwood, just south of the Hawks Memorial Stadium parking lot.
During the week, Garden City residents can pick up sandbags at the Garden City Library located at 6015 Glenwood Street (City Hall). 25 bags per Garden City resident and identification will be required.
Free bulk sand is also located outside at 405 E. 48th Street - but that area is difficult to get to, as it is inundated with water at this time.
Garden City leaders say if you need assistance, call Ada County dispatch at 377-6790. Dispatchers will connect you with first responders or the best agency for your needs. We are also told Red Cross is aware of the situation and will step in if people are forced to evacuate.