Student Volunteers at the Flood


Image provided by Kahner Cleaveland

Emily LaGrange, Editor-in-Chief

The city of Cedar Rapids experienced, eight years later, yet another major flooding threat near its downtown areas that surround the city’s Cedar River. Citizens of all ages gathered in the city’s center to build temporary barriers– sandbags– against the water to save some of the most important parts of the city– including Newbo, built after the Flood of 2008.
Washington High School students took part in this civic duty by taking time out of their day and weekend to save the city they love. “It was good to see the community, young and old, working together for a common goal. It felt good to help out my city in a time of need,” said Chloe Hatfield, ’17, who volunteered at the downtown YMCA.

Wash students had many ways of representing their love for Cedar Rapids. “Well, first I went out to Newbo on Friday, then I went to Hawkeye Downs for the rest of the weekend. I went by myself but I worked with so many different people, from farmers to a police lieutenant, to a 12 year old who rode his bike down to Newbo just to help out. It was really awesome,” said Kahner Cleveland, ’17.

The city, along with the efforts of its citizens, was able to keep the water away from destroying businesses and homes in the downtown area. “It was great to see the city come together during a time that had the potential to hurt many lives,” said Sophie Fox, ’18.

Although a great accomplishment, some believe this is only a temporary solution. “I think we definitely need a permanent solution to flooding in CR. We spent 5-6 million dollars on sandbagging efforts this time around and we don’t have the funding to keep shelling out millions of dollars to another inevitable flood. It could happen next spring, it could happen 10 years from now, or it could happen hundreds of years from now. Another flood will happen, the issue is just when. We should have permanent protection put in place so the city is prepared for the next flood,” said Cleveland.

Some believe that more permanent solutions should be made for the citizens’ sake. “It seems like flooding is becoming more of an issue that could be related to global warming, so I think that it is very important to the city that we have permanent flood barriers in place. The people whose homes are being flooded may not have the financial stability to be repairing their home due to flooding every 10-15 years. I think the city should strongly consider more permanent flood protection,” said Fox.

Others believe the impending threat of a flood should be reason enough to find a solution. “I think the city should work towards a more permanent solution because we never know when the next disaster will happen. I think it would be good to be prepared,” said Hatfield.

Now, the flood threat gone, the city is asking for help removing sandbags from buildings around these downtown areas. To find information about how to help, go to