Rochester Changed for the Better, 40 Years After the Flood

July 05, 2018 06:46 PM

It has been 40 years since the 1978 flood hit Rochester hard.

Doris Amundsen lived across the street from Bear Creek in Rochester when the July 5th storm flooded the tributary and brought 30 inches of water into her home.
"We had to rebuild and take everything out of the house and start over from scratch. It was like doing everything backwards," Amundsen said.


But Amundsen says she was lucky. Thanks to friends, relatives and neighbors, her family returned home that fall.  

And Amundsen never left: 40 years later, she still lives in the same house.

"I always felt I was a survivor and as we look at the area, we did survive," Amundsen said.

She credits this to the city of Rochester’s flood plan. 

"It was major, no question about it," said Mayor Ardell Brede.

The city put up flood walls, created reservoirs and dredged the Zumbro River. It worked.

"We've had heavy rains since then that were probably equal to that, but didn't flood," Brede said.

As for Amundsen, the home that was once covered in mud and debris is now a floral sanctuary for bees, butterflies and neighbors passing by.  

As she looks back on old photos and memories, she comes to the conclusion:

"Things changed for the better."


Talia Milavetz

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