Dave Olson, Published October 20 2010
Stalwart of Oakport flood fights moving
“I’ve seen five 100-year floods in my lifetime. Makes me 500 years old in Oakport years,” laughed Anderson, who plans to sell his Oakport home in the spring and move to his lake home on Turtle Lake in Clay County.
Anderson, who has helped lead the flood battles in Oakport for many years, said he wants people to know that even after he moves he will remain reachable if someone needs to call on his experience and know-how.
“I’m kind of like this huge Oakport library,” said Anderson, who is chairman of the Township Board but doesn’t plan to run for re-election in March.
The 52-year-old retired from the Moorhead Police Department in 2008 as a deputy chief and has spent the past several years as the manager of a project that involves installing record-keeping software for the Red River Regional Dispatch Center.
The same system will also be used by local law enforcement agencies, fire departments and jails.
“It (the system) should go live in March 2011. It’s going to work so good, they’re not going to need me,” said Anderson, who recently began a new career as a real estate agent.
He said he always planned to transition his family to the lake, but things have moved more quickly than he anticipated.
Kevin Campbell, chairman of the Clay County Commission and a former chairman of the Oakport Township Board, said Anderson’s planned departure is reason for consternation.
“It will make my life more difficult without him,” said Campbell. Campbell hopes the Township Board and Anderson can work out an arrangement that will keep Anderson around as something of a consultant.
Campbell said Anderson’s knowledge of Oakport is an invaluable resource when it comes to issues like flood fighting and the annexation of Oakport into the city of Moorhead, a move that will become official in 2015.
Anderson plans to stick with a dike building project now under way in Oakport until the work is completed.
He said people are worried that spring 2011 will bring more flooding.
Anderson stressed, however, that work already done on the dike system should make things go relatively smooth if there is a flood.
“We’ll have the dikes about 80 percent done on the west side and 70 percent finished on the east side,” he said. “We’re constructing them in a manner that will provide as much protection as possible for next year.”
He said he has made his plans public to give would-be Township Board candidates time to make up their minds to run.
The job comes highly recommended.
“I wouldn’t trade what I did for the world. It truly is as fulfilling as it can get,” Anderson said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555