Rah Rah sis-boom-bah…,
big buyouts…, not pay-o-la…?
Oxbow, ND “elite” have earned themselves a “self centered, me first” reputation that has made Oxbow area “commoners” guilty by proximity.
I met a person at a wedding in mid-July around 200 miles from Oxbow, ND.
As we exchanged pleasantries of where each other was from, I awkwardly said from the southeastern part of the state. Which prompted the question “what city are you near?”
To which I replied, “about 15 miles south of Fargo…, but I don’t claim Fargo.”
Quite comically, the other person said “who would?”
We laughed a bit and he inquired “Abercrombie?”
To which I replied “Hickson, ND”.
He looked puzzled and as he began to ask where Hickson was, I said “next to Oxbow, ND.” (…there was a long pause…)
Finally, he asked, “so you getting one of those big buyouts?”
To which I replied “NO”… There was a sigh of relief and the conversation was remarkably candid from then on.
The underlying point is that many are caught up in the whirlwind “that is” the Oxbow-Gate buyout scandal.., yet only a handful (“elite”) truly want it and the rest (“commoners”) endure the stigma because they are caught up in the process.
Knowing the difference is kinda like determining who broke wind in a crowded elevator. Either way, when the doors swing open, everyone stinks.
Excerpt from Oxbow, ND mayor Jim Nyhof July 10, 2015 letter to Fargo Forum:
“The city of Oxbow, N.D., has sought increased flood protection since Oxbow was devastated by major flooding in 2009.”
“You can only imagine how much “RAH RAH sis-boom-bah” I needed to rally the community to complete the effort to put Oxbow back on the map. We successfully rebuilt infrastructure and added what flood protection we could.” – Nyhof
Without question, the communities of Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke pulled together and won a fight that many infer was lost. Friendships were forged that may never have occurred, as well as rifts created that are wider than the Grand Canyon.
Out of the 2009 adversity came permanent flood protection for Oxbow that could withstand a 2009 event, which far exceeded the FEMA 100 year flood level. The new robust flood protection meant that residents of the city could rest a little more easily knowing that the Red River wouldn’t be knocking on their door.
“In January 2011, the Diversion Authority’s plan for Oxbow was complete elimination and a federal buyout of the whole community.”
“Oxbow again was fighting to exist…”
“My letter in 2011 was to request the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider saving the city I so passionately serve.” – Nyhof
Nearly the entire population of Pleasant township was slated for buyout as a result of Fargo’s plans to relocate water, encroach and develop the last natural flood plain south of the city.
Let’s look at the timeline.
|November 2, 2010:||Flood Sales Tax Resolution Passes (backed by FM Homebuilders Association)|
|November 8, 2010:||CLOSED DOOR MEETING: Corps Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh met with mayors Dennis Walaker and Mark Voxland and select representatives of Cass and Clay counties to provide an update on the proposed project. (Read MPR article)|
|November 18, 2010:||USACE shifts water impacts upstream placing Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke in staging reservoir. (Read Forum article)|
|Demember 8, 2010:||Community meeting at Hickson Community Center to discuss impacts to Kindred School District and interest in buyouts. Oxbow Mayor Jim Nyhof called for solidarity, to get organized the way downstream groups did and fight the diversion impacts.|
|December 9, 2010:||Metro Flood Study Work Group at Bennett Elementary to discuss upstream issues.|
|January 16, 2011:||Community Meeting at Hickson Community Center. Oxbow, ND mayor Jim Nyhof update from Jan 13 Metro Flood Meeting.|
|January 26, 2011:||Oxbow, ND mayor Jim Nyhof sent a letter to Terry J. Birkenstock (USACE), detailing near 500 year flood protection built to protect the city and unanimous passage of City of Oxbow Resolution #2011-01 opposing the Fargo Moorhead diversion.|
|March 8, 2012:||Task Order No. 5 (page 3) indicates that the Mayor of Oxbow submitted a development plan for Oxbow, Bakke and Hickson.|
RAH RAH sis-boom-bah! Feigned Public Outreach
|March 27, 2012:||Community Meeting at Hickson Commmunity Center to inform residents about the Project, Staging Reservoir, Property Acquisition & Relocation along with the current status of the project. (View Notes)|
|March 29, 2012:||Community Meeting at Hickson Commmunity Center to inform residents about the Project, Staging Reservoir, Property Acquisition & Relocation along with the current status of the project.|
|April 3rd, 2012:||Business Owner Meeting at Hickson Commmunity Center to discuss impacts.|
|April 12, 2012:||Bruce Spiller (CH2M Hill), discusses options of moving diversion inlet south of Oxbow or protection Oxbow, Hickson, Bakke with levees or a ring dike.|
|June 14, 2012:||Oxbow mayor Jim Nyhof questions why (page 2) “housing of last resort” was not included in the draft Land Management Plan. (part of the Kool-aid and Cookies that would be offered later to Oxbow property owners – as enticement)|
RAH RAH sis-boom-bah! Housing of Last Resort
|September 5, 2012:||City of Oxbow council unanimously passes resolution in support of Richland Wilkin JPA.|
|September 12, 2012:||Fargo Diversion Authority Announces alignment change north of Oxbow, Hickson, Bakke leaving the communities in the staging reservoir and future undetermined buyouts.|
|October 23, 2012:||Email from Aaron Snyder (USACE) to Jim Nyhof (Oxbow Mayor), indicates that the Corps will work on a possible ring levee to mitigate project impacts.|
|January 8, 2013:||Oxbow, Hickson, Bakke community meeting at Bennett Elementary, south Fargo rolling out OHB Levee concept. (remember the Kool-aid and Cookies)|
|January 8-10, 2013:||Fargo Diversion Authority etal; conduct one on one surveys with individual property owners.|
RAH RAH sis-boom-bah! Surveys and Petitions All Around!
|January 2013:||Oxbow, ND petitions residents to support city council resolution to rescind Resolution #2011-01 and resolution supporting for Richland Wilkin JPA.|
|January 25, 2013:||Initial Summary of Survey Results released indicated that 24 (32 percent of respondents) Oxbow property owners would leave the area as opposed to living behind a ring dike.Combining all responses from Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke – 81 (61 percent) of 133 respondents indicated that they did not want a ring dike.|
RAH RAH sis-boom-bah! “Robert Trent Jones” golf course, clubhouse etc…
|August 28, 2013:||First Project Design Team meeting was held on OHB ring dike held at Cass County courthouse.|
RAH RAH sis-boom-bah! New homes and big buyouts claiming Housing of Last Resort…
This is rather “intriguing”… Mr. Nyhof, being a person that has self proclaimed oneself to be credible, honest and effective…, publicly denied on June 9, 2015 that that the OHB project was his idea.
Listen to Chris Berg interview Jim Nyhof on 6:30 POV
Then consider these Fargo Diversion Authority minutes detailing Task Order No. 5 (page 3)…
March 8, 2012 – Task Order No.5
C. Land Management Improvements Evaluation No.1
i. Objective: Evaluate the proposal presented by the Mayor of Oxbow for modifications to the Communities of Oxbow, Bakke, and Hickson, assuming the maximum predicted water level in the staging area is estimated to be lower than current estimated levels after completion of upcoming studies, such that the communities could be protected by a ring dike system. Prepare a concept level ring dike plan for the community of Christine.
1. The communities of Oxbow, Bakke, and Hickson are currently in the staging area of the Fargo Moorhead area flood diversion project. The Federally Recommended Project will stage water levels between 7 and 10 feet in the vicinity of these communities. However, the Diversion Authority will be performing a study of options that could possibly result in a lowering of the water elevation in these communities during operation of the diversion and the staging of water.
2. The Mayor of Oxbow submitted a proposed development plan for Oxbow, Bakke, and Hickson that may be viable if the water level to be staged in this vicinity is lowered to a level that can be protected by a ring dike or levee system. The proposal presented would preserve the 18-hole golf course by relocating some of the holes, moving or re-building some structures that are currently in low areas for which protection by a levee is not possible, and providing some development to increase the tax basis and maintain the financial viability of these communities.
Draw your own conclusions…