After historic destruction by Mother Nature last weekend, Juneau residents are planning cleanup and recovery events this weekend.
A fundraising meal Saturday and a community beach cleanup Sunday are among some of the local-level efforts to help residents affected by record flooding from Suicide Basin last Saturday. Nearly 20 residences were destroyed or condemned as uninhabitable and about two dozen more sustained significant damage, with debris ranging from trees and oil tanks to small personal items washing up on shores throughout the area.
Large-scale recovery efforts have been ongoing since the flood waters receded on Sunday morning.
Officials with the City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Coast Guard have coordinated the removal of large hazardous items including fuel containers. An advisory that a storm with gale-force winds this weekend could cause more trees to fall into the river was issued Thursday by the National Weather Service.
Affected residents are eligible to apply for state disaster relief until Oct. 9 following an emergency declaration by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday, after he visited the flood area as the water was rising Saturday. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski also visited the riverbank on Tuesday with city leaders and local state lawmakers to assess the damage as the city seeks federal disaster relief funds.
“I’m trying to understand better the impact of the damage and the next steps going forward,” Murkowski said in a video of her standing on the Mendenhall River bridge at Back Loop Road with damaged homes in the background, which was posted on her Facebook page the day of her visit.
Meanwhile, the local-level endeavors are aimed at more immediate assistance.
A spaghetti dinner and dessert auction fundraiser hosted by the Thunder Mountain High School Cross Country team, is scheduled from 5:30-8 p.m. at TMHS. Organizers are asking people planning to attend to RSVP on the event’s Facebook page.
“Hecla Greens Creek is matching dollar for dollar donations for the first $5,000 raised,” the post notes. “Safeway has donated food for this event and countless other members of our community have already contributed/pledged their support for this event.”
The city’s parks and recreation department is the organizer of the Sunday beach community cleanup, scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
Yellow Litter Free bags will be distributed at the Auke Lake wayside and boat launch, and False Outer Point wayside, between 2-3 p.m. Filled bags can be left alongside North Douglas Highway, Mendenhall Peninsula Road and Fritz Cove Road.
“Large items should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org for later removal,” an announcement about the cleanup posted at the city’s website Friday morning notes. “Please include photos and location information.”
The city is also offering free collecting household debris for residents affected by the floor, according to a subsequent announcement Friday afternoon. It states it will be the first of several such debris collections.
“CBJ is now in the process of reaching out individually to flood-impacted residents with details about how to prepare waste for collection,” the latter announcement notes. “If your property was affected by flooding and you have not been contacted by CBJ by Sunday evening, please contact email@example.com.”
In addition to this weekend’s events, there were 11 GoFundMe campaigns on behalf of flood victims as of Thursday, plus other fundraisers at Venmo. A Linktree post is offering links to individual campaigns.
• Contact Mark Sabbatini at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 957-2306.