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ND House votes in remembrance of 1997 'devastation'

BISMARCK - North Dakota legislators approved a concurrent resolution on Tuesday, April 18, that recognized the 20th anniversary of the Flood of 1997 -- an event that changed the history of Grand Forks and affected multiple communities along the R...

A fire-bombing plane, usually used in forest fires, drops fire retardant on the downtown blaze on April 19, 1997. The electrical fire in the Security Building, one of the oldest office buildings in Grand Forks, was reported at 4:15 p.m. and still was being fought 22 hours later. (Chuck Kimmerle/Grand Forks Herald)
A fire-bombing plane, usually used in forest fires, drops fire retardant on the downtown blaze on April 19, 1997. The electrical fire in the Security Building, one of the oldest office buildings in Grand Forks, was reported at 4:15 p.m. and still was being fought 22 hours later. (Chuck Kimmerle/Grand Forks Herald)

BISMARCK – North Dakota legislators approved a concurrent resolution on Tuesday, April 18, that recognized the 20th anniversary of the Flood of 1997 -- an event that changed the history of Grand Forks and affected multiple communities along the Red River.

The resolution, introduced by state Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, is co-sponsored by roughly half of the Legislature, with 39 additional representatives and 22 senators whose names appear on the document.

The text of the resolution lays out the history of the winter before the flood -- notably Blizzard Hannah in early April -- and rising floodwaters along the Red River, then an evacuation. In Grand Forks, where 50,000 people were ordered out of the city on April 18, it was the largest such exodus since Atlanta was evacuated during the Civil War, the resolution states.

“That the Sixty-fifth Legislative Assembly recognizes the hard work exhibited by all communities impacted by winter storms and flooding during the winter of 1996 and the spring of 1997 in preventing and responding to historic natural events,” the release states. “(And) congratulates all communities throughout the Red River Valley on their perseverance and commitment to rebuild following the devastation associated with the flood of 1997.”

Mock said the North Dakota House passed the resolution 94-0, and that passage in the Senate is expected to approve it Wednesday morning, April 19.

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Gov. Doug Burgum also issued a proclamation Tuesday commemorating the flood anniversary.

“Red River Valley residents showed inspiring resiliency in the flood’s aftermath, rebuilding their neighborhoods and communities even stronger than before the flood,” the proclamation said.

In Grand Forks, the flood will be remembered in a meeting of Mayor Mike Brown and East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander at noon on Saturday, April 22, at the Sorlie Bridge. Described as a chance “to connect,” it’s a low-fanfare opportunity for anyone who wishes to observe the anniversary of the flood.

Related Topics: 1997 FLOOD
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