Randy Quinto says it may be months before he can move back into his condominium — if he ever can — so one of the few things he knows for sure is he and many of his neighbors need a lot of help.
A spaghetti fundraiser dinner on Saturday night attended by about 400 people won’t solve all the problems caused by record flooding of the Mendenhall River earlier this month. But Quinto said it’s one of the many local-level efforts that will provide some relief and hope to people waiting for state – and possibly federal — disaster assistance after the flood destroyed or resulted in the condemnation of nearly 20 residences.
“Number one we’re hoping that our building is inhabitable once again and the relief monies will help rebuild what they need to, the foundations and whatnot, and hopefully help the owners in (our) building offset some of the cost,” he said after sitting down with a plate of food at a table in the commons room at Thunder Mountain High School.
More than $20,000 was raised during the spaghetti dinner and silent dessert auction organized by the THMS cross country teams, said Kristen Wells, head coach of the girls team. She said about 60 athletes, parents and educators helped cook and serve the meals.
More than 100 deserts were contributed by residents for the auction, along with some high-bid items such as airline tickets and art, Wells said. Hecla Greens Creek provided a $5,000 match for auction bids, and food for the dinner was donated by Super Bear IGA, Safeway and Costco.
Quinto and Molly Barnes, who lived in a unit at Riverside Condominiums until the flood, are staying with friends as they await word on the future of their building. The flooding eroded dozens of feet of the backyard before taking out a significant portion of the earth under two of the complex’s buildings.
Work crews have spent the past week placing many tons of rock fill under the buildings — one of which the city now deems safe — but Barnes said that while there’s now fill under her building there’s still extensive exterior damage to be repaired, in addition to whatever damage may be discovered when the interior is inspected.
“We’re in this weird limbo, but we still have hope,” she said. “It may be months out, but we still have hope.”
Assistance from events like the dinner and auction, crowdsourcing, and government assistance will all be crucial since it appears the insurance on their condominium won’t cover losses for an unprecedented natural disaster, Barnes said.
“We have insurance, but we don’t have flood insurance because there was less than a 1% chance of it happening,” she said, referring to an outflow from Suicide Basin above the face of the Mendenhall Glacier that far exceeded any previous drainage since they began occurring annually in 2011.
Making four desserts for the auction was Diane Diekmann, who said she lives along the Mendenhall River in a home not damaged by the flood, “but many of my friends were” in such houses. She also kept an eye on several items she was bidding on, even when the prices got a bit high for comfort.
“That’s what we’re here for, to bid them up,” she said.
Among the winning bids were $80 for a North Douglas chocolate cake, $55 for a chocolate and peanut butter pie, $50 for peanut butter cookie dough bars, $45 for a plate of s’more bars, and $40 for a plate of lemon pie bars. Several of the high bids on items were submitted by local politicians, including Mayor Beth Weldon who departed the event with three desserts.
“Two of them I took to my day job at work and they were almost all gone by the time I went in there this morning,” she said Monday. The third was the cookie dough bars and “my son has pretty much wiped that out.”
• Contact Mark Sabbatini at email@example.com or (907) 957-2306.