Portage totals up flood damage

Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette file photo A washout in Portage Township after flash flooding on June 17. Repairs to washouts in the township fall under the authority of the county leaving the township with little in damage repair costs.

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP — The township escaped June 17 flooding with little public property damage, reporting only $6,700, because most damages fall under the jurisdiction of Houghton County.

“All the roads and all the shoulders, that’s county,” explained Supervisor Bruce Petersen. “The only thing that I can report to our emergency director is infrastructure damage that we incurred, that the township incurred.”

With repair costs falling to the county, most of the reported costs were from emergency response.

The Fire Department responded to pump out six flooded basements. The callout was for 16 hours with eight firefighters dealing with the situation.

This initial response accounts for a significant portion of the total, with truck and labor costs.

The Department of Public Works was also dispatched to restart the pump lift stations after they shut down due to the facilities being overwhelmed.

“It only came out to about $6,700. Now if somebody tells me that all the roads have to be included and the Pilgrim River Bridge and all that, that’s a different ballgame,” Petersen said.

However, for now, it looks like the infrastructure damaged is the county’s to report. Damages to homes and driveways were not reported in the totals.

Despite the small number of total damages, the township will be applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance to add another local unit of government to those reporting issues, an aid in indicating damage, he explained.

“It looks better if there are more units of government applying to FEMA for assistance to indicate damage, so I have at least maintained a placeholder, saying we are going to apply to FEMA for damage,” Petersen said. “Down the road, they may say, ‘None of this is eligible. You weren’t damaged.” Well that’s fine. In the interim, we are on the ticket saying we are applying for FEMA assistance.”