gather what was most needed from the hot, stinky building.
Perhaps because the company was so accommodating, it
lost none of its tenants after the floods.
preparinG for next tiMe
Property managers know they always have to be ready for
anything. Anderson underlines this truth, calling the 2008
events a “500-year-flood.” This means that there is a 1-in-
500 chance of that kind of flood occurring in any particular year, Anderson said, not that it can happen only once
every 500 years. For instance, there was similar flooding
just 16 years ago in 1993.
These unlikely events have influenced a number of new
initiatives, both public and private.
Property managers are learning more about flood insurance, which can offer some protection. Property owners
who had FEMA flood insurance were covered in 2008,
said Alan Dooley, public affairs officer at the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers St. Louis District.
“If your private property insurance doesn’t specifically
cover you for flooding, you may find that damages are not
compensated,” Dooley said.
The flooding has also caused the states involved to work
more closely with the federal government. Together they
are looking at structural alternatives that would protect
against this level of flooding, and non-structural alternatives such as allowing rivers to have floodplains that are
free of houses and businesses.
“We hope the flood on the upper Mississippi in 2008
will encourage a comprehensive flood protection program that would bring the river levees that qualify for
such improvement up to a 500-year protection level,”
Proactive managers also know the importance of talking to local officials about proposed governmental flood
prevention projects. With the alleviation of future disasters
in mind, Chapman met with Cedar Rapids representatives
to talk about temporary barriers the city has purchased for
future floods. She also discussed further ways of protecting
“It may take 10 years to have permanent flood mitigation,” Chapman said. “Meanwhile, we need to know how
to handle future flood situations.” n
river water in
to flood a
In Des Moines as flood waters
rose, Bergman called the owners of
Buzzard Billy’s restaurant—a lower-level tenant in a seven-story commercial office building he manages.
He told them to remove as much of
their property as possible. Soon after
the tenants finished their work, the
facility was inundated with 10 feet of
sewer water. Items left behind were
plan anD exeCution
In each Midwest city hit by flooding,
the water gradually receded and the
cleanup began. At the Irwin Union
Bank in Columbus, Ind., water stood
three inches deep on the first floor
and completely filled the basement.
According to pre-flood arrangements, contractors arrived to pump
out the water, remove debris, tear
up carpeting and drywall, and power
wash the floor and walls.
In Des Moines, the gas-powered
pumps Capp had put into place prior
to the flood were manned and running 24/7 to clear ground water.
In Cedar Rapids, a few days after
the flooding, Chapman called her tenants and coordinated a “grab and go”
so that they could retrieve their property. Tenants were warned to wear
galoshes, carry flashlights and bring
boxes. Each had only 15 minutes to
Janice Rosenberg is a contributing writer for JPM. Send questions
regarding this article to Markisan Naso at firstname.lastname@example.org.