CBJ Stock Image

Mendenhall River Flood Event Update (9 PM 8/7)

August 7, 2023 – News

At a special Assembly meeting today, August 7, the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly declared a local emergency following the August 5 Mendenhall River flood event and formally requested state and federal assistance. The declaration was immediately delivered to the Governor’s Office.

Engineering & Public Works Director Katie Koester provided the Assembly with an update on the event. The glacial outburst flood, which took place on August 5 due to a major release from Suicide Basin, resulted in peak water levels of 14.97 feet. This exceeded the record of 11.99 feet by almost three feet, or 180% of the volume of water.

Private property sustained the majority of the damage. Following CBJ’s initial assessment of structures damaged by flooding and bank erosion, a total of eight buildings were condemned.

Some public infrastructure was damaged. Three wastewater lift stations were totally submerged and service temporarily disrupted; all three stations are back in operation. The View Drive lift station sustained damage that will ultimately require long-term repair work. The Mendenhall River Wastewater Treatment Plant lost property and fenceline, as did the Dimond Park Field House, but did not sustain damage.

A summary of public safety concerns, property damage and repair guidance, cleanup information, and where to offer or receive community assistance follows.

Public Safety

The Mendenhall River banks remain eroded and highly unstable. Members of the public are strongly advised to stay away from the river to ensure safety and avoid obstructing response efforts.

Impacted Residents: Take Photos, Save Receipts

All residents impacted by flooding—both renters and property owners—are encouraged to take photos and save receipts and expense records (including but not limited to emergency repairs and stabilization work, debris disposal, and sheltering) to be prepared for any potential reporting needs for state or federal assistance, as well as for insurance documentation.

Property Damage and Repairs

The CBJ Community Development Department has authorized emergency bank stabilization to protect immediate threats to property and safety. CBJ asks that the department be notified of any work being done as soon as possible and CDD staff will handle the permitting process alongside the stabilization work. See Mendenhall River Emergency Stabilization – Information for Property Owners for further information and please note that photo documentation is critical as you proceed with this work.

Under CBJ code, a property affected by disaster may be eligible for tax adjustment. See the Real Property Exemption Disaster Relief guidelines and application.

CBJ has communicated with all residents impacted by evacuation orders to confirm they have shelter options available. If you are in need of shelter due to the flood event, please contact [email protected] or fill out the contact form located at juneau.org/manager/flood-response.

Cleanup and Debris

CBJ is currently working with Waste Management and Alaska Waste to find solutions for residents working to clean and repair property and dispose of debris. Representatives of these companies will be on site in Juneau this week. Further information will be provided as soon as it is available.

Several fuel tanks and hazardous materials containers have been overturned or damaged by floodwaters. If you see a loose fuel tank/hazmat container or need assistance disposing of one on your property, please contact the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Spill Prevention and Response (SPAR) hotline at 1-800-478-9300 or online at reportspills.alaska.gov. Please note that state law requires that any release of oil to water must be reported as soon as you have knowledge of the discharge.

Community Assistance

The United Way of Southeast Alaska is coordinating volunteer efforts. Individuals or organizations interested in volunteering should sign up through the form at unitedwayseak.org/form/juneauflood.

The Salvation Army has prepared food boxes and vouchers for clothing or household goods available to impacted families. Please call (907) 586-2136 or visit the Salvation Army Family Store at 500 W. Willoughby Avenue. The Salvation Army is also accepting donations through its regular channels.

St. Vincent de Paul will receive and distribute donations at their former thrift shop location at 8617 Teal Street. Hours of operation are Tuesday, August 8, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Wednesday, August 9 through Friday, August 11 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information, call (907) 789-5535 or email [email protected].

The Red Cross is accepting financial donations, which are guaranteed to stay within Alaska. The Red Cross is currently providing trained volunteer assistance in financial management and disaster assessment but does not anticipate a need for short-term event volunteers at this time.

The Red Cross is also operating a Client Assistance Center from Thursday, August 10 through Saturday, August 11.  This center is located at the Red Cross office, 5636 Glacier Hwy Suite 101, and is open the following hours:

Thursday: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

CBJ are deeply appreciative of all offers of assistance and are working as swiftly as possible to coordinate with relief organizations and make best use of the community’s generosity.

Resources and Information

Important flood response information is available at juneau.org/manager/flood-response and will be updated on a regular basis.

Impacted residents should contact (907) 586-0600 if urgent assistance is needed from JPD dispatch. For questions about resources and long-term response needs, please email [email protected] or fill out the contact form at juneau.org/manager/flood-response.

This is an evolving situation and more information will be released as it is available.

(Updated 8/18/23 10:30 a.m.)