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Living elsewhere until the flood comes

Kristi Chapin

Dear Editor,

I live in Mountain Mobile Home Park, 200 feet below Mitchell Creek, on 125 Center Drive, a semi-circular drive off of Center Drive, which is now closed.

I am impressed and gratified to see all the efforts applied, by the many agencies and individuals involved, to try and protect us from the inevitable flood/mudslide/debris flow coming soon. I wish to express my sincere appreciation and respect for all their hard work.

To our dedicated, beleaguered sheriff and fire departments, the greatest gift I can offer is to be one less person they have to worry about. The Sheriff is responsible for issuing the evacuation order. The fire department will be our last hope of rescue if we don’t get out in time. We have 15 minutes to evacuate. We should “Leave the area immediately” if it starts to rain. I don’t wish to put good men in harm’s way in order to protect me, when I can protect myself just by staying elsewhere.

If the evacuation call is issued during the day while I’m at work, I won’t know about it. My two cats would be left in the house. I cannot leave my animals alone in the house under these dire conditions so took one to my sons’ house in Boulder and have the 12-year-old “trouper” with me (Even though he hates traveling, he’s happier with me than anywhere else.). He has a cancerous tumor under his eye with surgery scheduled in three weeks so must stay in this area.

I cannot sleep soundly in my home so found a room elsewhere. A neighbor suggested I take a mild sedative at night. Think about this. If the reverse 911 call comes at night to evacuate, I have to jump out of bed, get dressed, put my false teeth in, chase the cats, grab the already packed bag and my purse, jump in the truck then join the other 39 residents on my street trying to get out through the only exit available to us, the south entrance to Center Drive. We must then go east on Highway 6 (of course) and need to get past the creek running through the Ford and Chevy dealers’ lots towards the staging area in the mall to be out of harm’s way. If I’m groggy from medication, I may not get out in time.

I applaud some of my neighbors who refuse to be intimidated by this coming event, but I cannot share their optimism. You see, I’ve done my homework and have had various officials verify my conclusions. We could quite conceivably be facing a wall of mud and debris, started by an average monsoon thunderstorm. One-tenth of an inch of rain is the minimum amount the BAER team established in order to best protect the lives of the many residents in this small area. One-tenth of an inch of rain can move a refrigerator. One-tenth of an inch of rain can kill. The Sheriff’s department is watching the weather constantly, doing their best to safeguard our lives.

I am lucky. I found a room in Glenwood that allowed me to keep my ailing cat and also found a way to pay for this room (thanks Weststar Bank!). Others are not so fortunate.

My heart aches for those who, like me, can’t sleep soundly under these ominous conditions, who, like me, can’t protect their pets, but who, unlike me, do not have the means available to sleep elsewhere or move their pets. And what of those with an elderly, infirm, or handicapped loved one at home? What about children home for school, usually capable of providing for themselves? How will they get out if they can’t drive? We have only to run to the mall to be out of danger. Let’s hope we all make it out.

I wish there was something more I can do for my neighbors, but I can barely provide for my own safety and that of my beloved pets. I hope this letter helps.

Kristi Chapin

Mountain Mobile Home Park

West Glenwood Springs


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