Canyon County homeowners want answers after road collapse

Homeowners seeking answers after flooding.

Residents in Canyon County are still living a nightmare nearly two weeks after their homes were flooded when a road collapsed. Many are wondering where to go next as their expenses start to add up.

Nearly 12 hours a day, Butch Clancy, who lives off of Jerry Lee Lane, has worked to help pick up the pieces.

“Trying to figure out how bad it actually is,” Clancy said.

Clancy’s home was flooded after Midway road collapsed and caused irrigation water to back up onto Jerry Lee Lane.

“We don't have a clue what to do, not a clue,” Clancy said.

Especially since all those involved didn’t have flood insurance because their homes didn’t sit in a flood plain.

“The next phase is to figure out where to come up with the money to put it all back,” Clancy said.

If that wasn’t enough, their well water is being tested for E.coli and kerosene contamination, most homeowners have ripped out drywall and their floors, and they don’t have running water.

“This is exactly how we've lived. We wake up and go to our porta potty. We don't get to wake up and take a shower. We don't get those options. It's sad,” Jessica Morris, who also lives off of Jerry Lee Lane, said.

Many have either decided to leave or are living in RV’s in front of their home.

“That's where we're staying. It's either that or a homeless shelter, right now,” Morris said.

MORE: Canyon County homeowners begin to clean up after flood: "We lost everything'"

The Canyon Highway District No. 4 is trying to help. They’ve brought in porta pottys and dumpsters. They’re the district in charge of Midway Road, which collapsed and caused the flooding.

“We are guilty until proven innocent in this case because it was the road that caused the problem. It’s not the canal, it's not the water line, it's not the phone line or all the other stuff that's in the road. Our road is what caused the problem,” Canyon Highway District No. 4 Director Dave Jones said.

Jones says they’re still investigating the incident to see if there’s some type of evidence that may prove negligence in some part or someone deliberately plugged the pipe.

“We don't know what happened specifically, but we're working with our insurance company and a forensic team to figure out what might have caused that,” Jones said.

Jones says the tricky part of the whole situation is all of the homes damaged are in unincorporated Canyon County. Half of midway road is in the city of Caldwell. Jerry Lee Lane, which has some homes damaged by the flooding, is in the Nampa Highway District. And Midway Road is the Canyon Highway District No. 4’s responsibility to take care of through an agreement.

Sound confusing? That’s because it is.

“It's very complicated. It's a mess. Jurisdictionally it's a pain, it's a nightmare,” Jones said. “If we are found guilty then our limit is $500,000 in liability, and based on the information that we have out there that's not even close.”

What that means is the 21 homeowners impacted by the flooding will split $500,000, 21 ways.

“It'll be in the $60,000 to $80,000 range. Somewhere in that neighborhood,” Clancy said to fix his home.

KTVB reached out to the Canyon County Commissioners about the issue. We received a statement from spokesperson Joe Decker:

"This is a terrible situation for the homeowners and individuals whose lives have been dramatically impacted as a result of this flooding. While we have no direct legal role in the matter, we are currently consulting with our emergency management coordinator to determine what, if any, official County action on behalf of all County taxpayers might be permissible or warranted under the circumstances.

"Using public resources to address private emergencies, no matter how tragic, is not a matter that can be taken lightly. Any suggestion that the County has the authority to do other at this point besides try and help direct the relevant entities and individuals to potential sources of immediate aid, such as the Red Cross, or to otherwise join in their call upon our local community to volunteer resources and aid to our neighbors, would be misplaced.”

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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