Tulsa Man Frustrated With City After Flooding

Tuesday, June 27th 2006, 10:10 am
By: News On 6

Last Thursday's downpour in Tulsa pushed a river of water through a man's yard and home. He says when he tried to get help from the city, they shut him down.

News on 6 reporter Jennifer Loren explains what happened and how you can avoid it yourself.

Gordon Hard says he just wants to know if he is responsible for cleaning up his property at 1500 South Frisco Avenue. He feels like the flooding is the city's fault. But he just wants an answer so he can mop up the mess.

"He said when it got here it was a waterfall." Gordon Hard was out of town when the flooding happened on his street. His neighbor told him it all came through Hard's own backyard. "My neighbor said it was probably about two to three feet deep when it came through here."

The water rushed through Hard's back fence, into his garage, over a clogged storm drain and down into his basement. The proof, a mucky mess. The carpet in the basement is still soaked. Furniture is still drying in the garage. "We're looking at three or four days, maybe 5 days of good hard work to clean this up."

And that's what Hard wants help with. He feels like the city of Tulsa should have better storm drainage, either on the street behind his property or with the drain in his backyard. "So what do you want them to do? Basically just the cleanup. I don't want any money from the city." But Gordon says when he called the Mayor's Action Line; an operator told him there was nothing they could do.

The News on 6 called city spokesperson Laureen Gibson Gilroy, who says that operator was wrong. She says the operator should have told him they'd send an engineer to his home to assess the situation. It’s standard procedure. "The engineer comes out and looks and says well where does the water start and where does the water end up? And is there something the city can do to relieve that problem?"

Many times, she admits, the answer is no. Her suggestion, call the city and tell them about drainage problems before it floods. Or she suggests getting your hands dirty and cleaning storm drains yourself. "If it doesn't go in the storm drain it’s got to go somewhere."

After our conversation, the city of Tulsa agreed to send an engineer to Gordon Hard’s house Wednesday morning.

They say if something like this happens to you, you can always file a tort claim against the city. Then a court will decide who's responsible.