Albany Park resident: 'My house is trashed'

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In Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood, the area hardest hit by flooding in the city, glove-and-mask clad residents used the first day of dry streets since Saturday to finally start the long cleanup process.

Office of Emergency Management and Communications Commissioner Raymond Orozco said at an afternoon news conference that residents were being encouraged to come back to the area.

Many had already started today, as streets were full of trucks and workers from several city departments. Foster Avenue remained closed to traffic this afternoon, but officials said they were hoping to have it reopened by the evening rush hour.


Along Carmen Avenue, between St. Louis and Drake Avenues, where the still swollen Chicago River passed right behind backyards, residents carried ruined appliances, damaged furniture and soaked boxes to city trucks waiting to move the debris away.

"You sort of get a taste of what they went through in Houston," said Janet Nolan, as her 36-year-old daughter Cristina carried away damaged belongings, including a dollhouse made by her late father. "You see all your memories go," Nolan, 76, said.

Along the 5000 block of Monticello Avenue, city workers moved sandbags closer to the river banks than where they had been frantically placed Saturday night as the river crested and flooded the streets.

"The residents on this block feel a little more secure if the sandbags stay there," said Bill Bresnahan, the city's first deputy commissioner of water management.

But the measures were too late for Judy Gadiel's home along the river on Monticello Avenue where water levels reached 4 feet high on the first floor.

"When you think about buying a house here, you think, 'What's the worst thing that could happen? A flood?'" Gadiel said. "But I didn't think I'd lose the whole house and have no insurance."

"My house is trashed, I can't live in my house," Gadiel said.

Robert Mitchum, Tribune reporter


Albany Park is not the only neighborhood that is on the river. Why was Albany Park hit so hard, the hardest? What can be done, or should have been done, to make sure this doesn't happen again there?

I keep hearing that they've had the money to fix the floodwalls around Albany Park for years? How many times do we need to flood the neighborhood before they spend that money?

I have a friend who also lives in Albany Park and like Gadiel, she doesn't have insurance. Is there a place she can go to or contact to see if she can get something back for the damage?

Rick Belanski on September 16, 2008 5:56 PM

A previous poster asks, "What can be done, or should have been done, to make sure this doesn't happen again there?"

You're kidding, right? Right?

Are we so blind, so arrogant, and so foolish as to believe that we can control Mother Nature?

Oh, we win some of the smaller battles...but Mother Nature always wins the big ones.

What can be done? MOVE away from the river! D'oh!

Oh Rick Rick Rick, we don't move away from rivers here, we move rivers. Or we change their direction of flow. Thanks for trying to help but maybe you should listen to both sides and not cry wolf.

Albany Resident on September 16, 2008 10:51 PM

I wonder why Senator Obama hasn't been around to assess the flood damage to his hometown. Maybe too busy carousing with the Hollywood celebrities...

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