City offers curbside cleanup for residents with flood damage
Update: All roads that were closed due to flooding in Bartlesville were re-opened on Thursday, May 29. Johnstone Park, many portions of Pathfinder Parkway and all athletic fields remain closed until further notice.
Flooding issues over the past week have impacted many Bartlesville residents with upwards of 80 structures receiving damage — even as the community awaits at least one more round of heavy rain tonight.
Local flooding began last week when the Caney River crested at 18.2 feet, well above a flood stage of 13 feet. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the river was at 17.6 feet today (Tuesday) and is expected to be around 13-14 feet on Wednesday.
Several residents were displaced as a result of flooding at their homes and numerous properties have been impacted. Homes in the Kenilworth Addition, located south of Hillcrest Golf Course, and on the west side of Bartlesville including Colorado and Oklahoma streets received heavy damage.
“This has been a difficult time for our community and our state,” said City Manager Mike Bailey. “Times like these require us all to work together — City, County and State government, citizens, non-profit agencies, business and organizations — and I have seen a number of examples of that over the past week. We had citizens assisting firefighters to rescue people trapped in flood water, multiple agencies working together to monitor river levels, and City staff working all weekend to close roads as needed and inform the public of developments as they occurred.
“Bartlesville is truly an impressive community. The coordination and teamwork I’ve seen is incredible. I am impressed by it and heartened by it, but not surprised. Bartlesville — and all of Oklahoma — will rise to meet these challenges as we always do.”
City of Bartlesville engineering department staff completed FEMA-required Substantial Damage Estimate inspections last week for properties located in the special flood hazard area that were affected by the flooding, which are required for people to begin the work necessary to re-occupy their homes.
Also, public works department crews are assisting with curbside cleanup in flooded areas by picking up debris from affected properties daily, in addition to regular trash service. The cleanup service is underway and will continue until the job is complete, Bailey said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the following roads and parks were closed due to flooding:
- Intersection of Hensley Boulevard and Cherokee Avenue
- Intersection of Hensley Boulevard and Wyandotte
- 200 block of Woodrow and north Theodore
- Some portion of north Seminole
- Shawnee Avenue from 16th Street south to Hillcrest
- Hillcrest from 20th Street to Skyline
- Virginia Avenue between Herrick and the Oak Park housing addition
- Lupa between Theodore to north Johnstone Avenue (includes Park Street and north Jennings)
- Tuxedo Boulevard between Wyandotte and Quapaw
- 200 block of north Theodore
- Will Rogers Road (near the Bartlesville Municipal Airport)
- Johnstone Park
- Most portions of Pathfinder Parkway
- All athletic fields
“We urge everyone to use caution in these areas and to avoid flood water whenever possible,” said Director of Engineering and Floodplain Administrator Micah Siemers. “Driving into flood water is extremely dangerous and could result in serious harm or death.”
Siemers also said parents should not allow their children to swim or play in flood water.
“We have had reports of people swimming and playing in these waters — this is completely unacceptable,” he said. “It is imperative that flood water be avoided whenever possible. These waters contain contaminants, not to mention snakes, broken glass and other objects that could cause bodily harm.”
Siemers said anyone exposed to flood water should contact their health care provider to inquire about a tetanus shot.
The last major flooding event in Bartlesville occurred in July 2007, when the Caney River crested at 21.5 feet, causing a fairly significant amount of localized flooding. This is compared to a crest of 19.1 feet with the most recent event — a crest nearly two feet lower than the 2007 event.