Transients Keep Returning to Flooded Clark Fork River, Despite Pleas to Leave for Safety
While more than 60 homes along the Clark Fork River have had to be evacuated, Missoula law enforcement has made multiple attempts to try to evacuate a homeless encampment that can be seen near the river bank from the Reserve Street Bridge. Clark Fork Flood incident public information officer Mel Holz explains.
"We've worked on evacuating that area twice now, possibly even a third time, and even had to call out a river rescue because of that, so those folks have kind of been living in that area. As water comes up they have been moving around certainly against our advice; that is a part of the evacuated area."
A rescue attempt was made two weeks ago when the river reached its highest point in more than a century, but Holtz says a handful of people returned and are choosing to stay despite being given other options.
"Last week during the high water I believe there were four to five or upward of six. We were working with the Poverello Center. They have a team that can go out and assist and trying to get some temporary housing for that group out there. They returned to that area so there was some other options but that is where they are choosing to be."
Holz says the search and rescue team in Missoula is all volunteer and they along with Sheriff’s Deputies have been working with the transient population along the Clark Fork River to try to find a safer location.