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Cedar Rapids city leaders recognize the cleanup efforts won’t be done anytime soon

Published: Aug. 16, 2020 at 6:48 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The message Sunday morning from city leaders in Cedar Rapids was that the cleanup efforts following Monday’s derecho won’t be done anytime soon.

City Manager Jeff Pomeranz said, “we’re going to take care of it,” in reference to all the debris, as thousands of Iowans are still without power seven days after the storm.

“This is one of the worst disasters in the history of the United States and, certainly, in the case of Cedar Rapids,” Pomeranz said. “There’s a lot of debris, and we’re getting rid of it but it takes time.”

So many people spent the week and, especially, this weekend with chainsaws, chaps, eye protection and heavy gloves to get rid of the trees that derecho took down.

“Traditionally, we would say, ‘put everything in a six-foot bundle in front of your home’ and, obviously, we’re dispensing of all of those rules,” Pomeranz said. “If it’s in front of the house, we’re going to take care of it.”

The debris will end up in the Time Check neighborhood, northwest Cedar Rapids, where the Flood of 2008 took out hundreds of homes. People in the city, as well as debris specialists in trucks, including many crews from out of town, will take debris to drop off.

We asked Pomeranz about the perception on whether the city was “on top” of the response, with no news conference until Thursday, more than three days after the storm hit. He said they had to resort to grocery stores for messaging as power was out.

“We’re open to anything and that’s why I gave this example of, who would have thought, in 2020, a city would go to Hy-Vee and ask them to hand out a flyer? That’s what we were down to,” he said.

Pomeranz also noted the Veterans Memorial Building is open as a day and overnight shelter. Pomeranz said, Sunday morning, 11 people were staying there, and that the city has plans set to open more shelters, if needed.

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