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Volunteers clean up River Parks after flooding

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jun 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-02 23:21:25-04

TULSA — Dozens of volunteers spent their weekend cleaning up River Parks after debris is left behind following widespread flooding.

Charlotte Adcock says she enjoys not having to drive to work because of the convenience of the River Parks trail; she bikes to work every day along Riverside Drive.

But over the last few weeks, as she watched the water start to rise, she knew she would have to find an alternate route. Adcock said, “It was pretty upsetting watching it get closer and closer, knowing that there was more rain coming.”

The water receding revealed a Tulsa treasure littered with wood debris and trash. It definitely was not a job for just a handful of people.

Ryan Howell with River Parks Authority explained, “We put out a call via social media and our website, and in less than eight hours, we had over 450 respondents – letting us know that they want to be a part of helping us clean up the river. It was astronomically overwhelming.”

One of those volunteers was Adcock, who said, “It’s a beautiful little city... so, giving back to the community that has accepted me is really nice. It feels really good.”

Howell has led crews throughout the weekend, picking up debris and trying to restore River Parks to pre-flood conditions.

He said engineers have walked every inch of the river and have deemed the east side safe for runners and bicyclists north of River Spirit Casino Resort. This obviously excludes areas blocked off along the trail where sinkholes formed. But even though most of the east side is open, you should still be cautious.

Howell said, “The current is still flowing at about seven or eight miles per hour. If you slip into the river, it can quickly carry you away. So, we discourage anybody (like that guy) from going near the water’s edge.”

There is still a lot of work to be done, but River Parks Authority would not be nearly as far into the cleanup process had it not been for the tremendous efforts of dozens of Tulsans who stepped up.

Howell said, “It’s an amazing experience to be a part of a staff for River Parks to have so many people want to help out so quickly.”

Adcock added, “Mother Nature is going to do what she’s going to do. We’ll be here when it’s over, and we’ll clean up when it’s done and keep moving forward.”

Engineers need to figure out what caused the sinkholes before they can re-pave those areas.

There is also a lot of sand that deposited onto the trails from sand banks in the river.

The west side of River Parks is closed indefinitely.

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