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Patrick Springer, Published March 20 2010

Timberline scrambles to block backup

Residents scrambled Friday in blustery weather to lay sandbags to protect homes in south Fargo’s Timberline neighborhood after a storm drain failed.

An estimated 15,000 or more sandbags extending about 150 feet were placed to prevent water from Rose Coulee from backing up into the neighborhood.

The sandbag barrier, which quickly materialized after residents and volunteers flocked to the site, was next to earthen levees also being built to hold back floodwater.

Sandbags were used to protect an area of Timberline near the adjacent Fox Run neighborhood where water was pooling around a storm drain with a seal that failed, city officials said.

Kathy Binde, who lives in Williston, N.D., was one of 60 or more working on the sandbag barricade. She and her husband were in town for their son’s wedding.

“We were here and decided to stay and help,” she said. “The kids have been really impressive.”

Because of the camaraderie, pitching sandbags is never drudgery, she said. “It’s a weird kind of fun.”

CodeRED text alerts went out Friday morning to residents of Timberline and nearby Fox Run, asking them to help sandbag.

Karen Fowler of Fox Run was also on the sandbag line, an area behind homes difficult to reach behind homes difficult to reach by the earth-moving equipment building the levees.

“If this neighborhood goes, our neighborhood goes,” she said.

Spirits brightened among sandbaggers when word spread that the National Weather Service was predicting the Red River would crest Sunday at 37.5 feet, down from the 38-foot midrange prediction.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522