Residents, businesses express thoughts on flood

Barista says sidewalks, roads ‘blended in with each other’



A car impacted by the flood sits in front of Snap Fitness on Grand Avenue. Sticks, mud and weeds cover the car.

ANGELICA RELENTE , Evergreen editor-in-chief

A 23-year-old from Great Falls, Montana, gathered piles of debris with a shovel and his two beige gloves at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Dissmore’s IGA parking lot.

“There was tons of interest in floating the Grand Ave River,” Brendan Heims wrote in a Facebook post on the “WSU Free & For Sale – Pullman, WA” page. “Is there any interest in helping clean up the debris left behind?”

Heims said he brought doughnuts and water for those who might be interested in cleaning up the aftermath of the flood at North Grand Avenue on Tuesday.

“It’s just sitting in the back of my truck,” he said. “Nobody showed up.”

Heims said the community in his hometown usually works together to clean up when incidents like this occur. He said he was hoping more people could help out, but understood that a lot are either at work or clearing out their own businesses.

“I feel like you should just be cleaning up,” he said, “not just taking pictures and leaving like a lot of people I’ve seen.”

Heims said he witnessed the flood at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and described it as a “rushing river.”

Matthew Lawrance, a WSU School of Biological Sciences research assistant, said he was doing work at his apartment when he saw his car partially submerged in the water. He said it was his first time experiencing something like this.

“It was really sudden,” Lawrance said.

Amber Ermel, a barista at Dizzy’s Espresso, said she was only working until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, which was before the flood got severe. She said she witnessed a white vehicle owned by a local barber drifting through the flood.

“He was still moving,” Ermel said. “We can see through my Outlook Apartment [that] firefighters came … and pried his door open. He just rolled his pants up and walked out.”

She said she visited a trail, which was also flooded, with her friend to overlook the city.

“It’s like everything blended in with each other,” Ermel said. “The sidewalk, the road — everything.”

Dissmore’s IGA owner Archie McGregor III said he was present when the flood occurred. It did not affect the store business-wise but did prevent patrons from getting to the store easily. He said there were alternate routes people could take in and out of the parking lot.

McGregor said he had to take an employee home because the employee walked to and from Dissmore’s IGA. He said the last time he witnessed something like the flood was when a water main broke in 2016.

“Some of the older customers were telling me it reminded them of [1972],” McGregor said.