Amy Johnson

Supervisor for 6 Months

Supervisor Amy Johnson shares her experiences during her six-month appointment to the Linn County Board of Supervisors.

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Oct 05

Organized and Braced for the Worst

Posted on October 5, 2016 at 3:23 PM by Amy Johnson

As the old saying goes, this isn’t my first rodeo.

I experienced the Flood of 2008 at the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, when more than 840 local businesses and thousands of residents were displaced by ten square miles of flooding in the downtown area. It was a traumatic and chaotic scene. I remember lots of water, lots of mud and lots of tears. Businesses were lost. Homes were lost. Lifetimes of memories were piled on curbs. The damage was devastating and heartbreaking.

This year, I had a very difference flood experience as a member of the Linn County team. Thanks to the Flood of 2008, Linn County was prepared. County departments and employees quickly mobilized. Everyone knew what to do and did it. Within three days, five county buildings were evacuated and hundreds of employees were relocated to minimize a disruption of services. Key buildings were secured with flood barriers. And perhaps most significant, this time there was an eerie sense of calm. We were organized and braced for the worst.

And thankfully, there was a much better outcome. The river crested at a lower level than first expected. Most buildings, as well as residences, sustained only minor water damage. Most citizens and businesses were not displaced for long. At Linn County, all of our buildings were back open for business, with normal business functions, by October 3.

Part of that was because of luck. Part of it was because Mother Nature was not as cruel this time. But a big part of it was preparation. The county left nothing to chance….and the hard work paid off.

Congratulations to all of the Linn County employees and partners who did so much during this flood and complained so little. As I stood on May’s Island shortly after the flood crest, I watched the raging river and the dry buildings around me. I was truly proud.