onion creek http://kut.org en How Long Will It Take to Finish the Onion Creek Buyout Demolitions? http://kut.org/post/how-long-will-it-take-finish-onion-creek-buyout-demolitions <p>Last Halloween at least 580 homes in Austin were damaged by floods in the Onion Creek area, causing nearly $30 million in <a href="http://kut.org/post/halloween-flooding-caused-more-30-million-damage-insured-properties">property damage</a>. So far, <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Watershed/flood/onion_creek_buyouts_map.pdf">the city has purchased </a>116 properties that were either damaged by flood waters or are in danger of future flooding.&nbsp;</p><p>By the end of the year, demolition contractors plan on knocking down 105 homes in the area. But what happens to all the&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">leftover </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">debris from those homes, and how long will the project take to complete?&nbsp;</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/158640823&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:43:59 +0000 Joy Diaz 10780 at http://kut.org How Long Will It Take to Finish the Onion Creek Buyout Demolitions? After Report Faults Halloween Flood Response, Is More Accountability Needed? http://kut.org/post/after-report-faults-halloween-flood-response-more-accountability-needed <p><strong>Update</strong>: Austin City Council member and <a href="http://www.thehallmonitor.org/mayorial-candidates">mayoral candidate</a> Mike Martinez is asking the city’s <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/psc">Public Safety Commission</a> to consider recommending an independent review of city response to the deadly Halloween flooding.</p><p>A report done by city staff highlighted more than 100 response problems, including communication issues between agencies and with the general public. Read more about the findings in the original story below.</p><p>In <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1153978-email-from-mike-martinez-to-public-safty.html">emails to the commission</a>, Martinez requests the group consider calling for an independent review. Martinez also finds fault with the framing of the city's report, writing "My general impression is that the failures and opportunities are large, and the successes are relatively small. Giving them equal weight with a tally of successes, opportunities, and failures seems to undermine the seriousness of any analysis."&nbsp;</p><p>The Public Safety Commission <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1153971-public-safety-commission-may-5-agenda.html">will also hear reports</a> from Austin Fire, Police and EMS about the response to last October’s flooding.</p><p><strong>Original story</strong> (April 15):&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">In Austin, it’s almost certain a flood will hit in the future. What we don’t know is when.</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/144714838&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Mon, 05 May 2014 16:06:32 +0000 Joy Diaz 10220 at http://kut.org After Report Faults Halloween Flood Response, Is More Accountability Needed? How Halloween Flood Survivors are Recovering From Post-Traumatic Stress http://kut.org/post/how-halloween-flood-survivors-are-recovering-post-traumatic-stress <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On the surface of the Onion Creek neighborhood, there’s progress.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The community is slowly recovering from 2013's deadly Halloween floods. Many families are back in their homes, even though most homes have yet to be fully rebuilt. But scratch the surface, and people are still suffering the psychological effects of that night.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Often when we hear about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it's in the context of war. But David Evans, CEO of Austin/Travis County Integral Care, says PTSD can affect those who survive any traumatic experience.&nbsp;</span><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/145276760&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:20:08 +0000 Joy Diaz 10251 at http://kut.org How Halloween Flood Survivors are Recovering From Post-Traumatic Stress Report Lists Over 100 Lessons From Austin's Deadly Halloween Floods http://kut.org/post/report-lists-over-100-lessons-austins-deadly-halloween-floods <p>It’s taken the City of Austin and Travis County almost six months to finalize a report detailing <span style="line-height: 1.5;">emergency response to the 2013 Halloween floods:&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">what worked, what needs improvement and what – flat out – did not work.</span></p><p><a href="http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/edims/pio/document.cfm?id=208521" style="line-height: 1.5;">See the full report here [PDF].</a></p><p>The report repeatedly highlights communication problems: between agencies, then between first responders, then with the general public. There was no clear channel of communication. There was no awareness about the kind of people who lived in the affected area either: a majority-minority community that does not primarily communicate using English.</p><p> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 21:33:58 +0000 Joy Diaz 10205 at http://kut.org Report Lists Over 100 Lessons From Austin's Deadly Halloween Floods There's a Different Kind of Homelessness for Onion Creek Flood Victims http://kut.org/post/theres-different-kind-homelessness-onion-creek-flood-victims <p>When you think about the word “homeless,” what comes to mind?</p><p>Homelessness can include a person who lacks housing. But it is also includes people in transitional housing. That's where Lydia&nbsp;Huerta, her husband and their three kids found themselves after they lost their home to flooding October 31.</p><p>Huerta&nbsp;says she "never really felt panic" until she lost her home.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/140640359&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 13:49:04 +0000 Joy Diaz 10012 at http://kut.org There's a Different Kind of Homelessness for Onion Creek Flood Victims Does Public Input Really Matter in City Projects? http://kut.org/post/does-public-input-really-matter-city-projects <p>Public input meetings are places where ideas float around, and where friends with similar interests reconnect.</p><p>At a meeting this week&nbsp;at&nbsp;Dove Springs' Mendes Middle School, you could see neighbors sharing input on what they'd like to see happen at Onion Creek Park.</p><p>Susan Willard, president of the Onion Creek Parks Neighborhood Alliance said she wants "[a] picnic area and barbeque grills." She even remembers a place from her childhood called Davey Crockett National Forest that has platforms and rope swings. "They could do something like that back in there," Willard says. "That’d be really cool! You know? Something that fits with nature."</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/140307066&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:30:04 +0000 Joy Diaz 9993 at http://kut.org Does Public Input Really Matter in City Projects? Austin to Receive Federal Funds to Buyout Homes in Onion Creek http://kut.org/post/austin-receive-federal-funds-buyout-homes-onion-creek <p>The federal government is sending $11.8 million to Travis County to help buy out homes in the flood-prone Onion Creek neighborhood.</p><p>More than 600 homes in the area were damaged or destroyed <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-travis-county-works-rebuild-devastating-halloween-floods">in last October’s floodin</a>g, but Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s office says the effort to buy out homes and restore the area to its natural habitat goes back to another flash flood there in 1998.</p> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 20:41:40 +0000 Kate McGee 9897 at http://kut.org Austin to Receive Federal Funds to Buyout Homes in Onion Creek Halloween Flooding Caused More than $30 Million in Damage to Insured Properties http://kut.org/post/halloween-flooding-caused-more-30-million-damage-insured-properties <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A statewide insurance association says the Halloween flooding in Austin caused more than $30 million in insured damages to residential and commercial properties.</span></p><p>More than 580 insured homes and commercial properties in Hays, Travis and Caldwell counties were damaged by the floodwater, according to the figures released by the <a href="http://www.fema.gov/states/texas">Federal Emergency Management Agency</a> to the <a href="http://www.insurancecouncil.org/">Insurance Council of Texas</a>.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 19:27:22 +0000 Kate McGee 9765 at http://kut.org Halloween Flooding Caused More than $30 Million in Damage to Insured Properties Onion Creek Residents Worry About Mold After Halloween Floods http://kut.org/post/onion-creek-residents-worry-about-mold-after-halloween-floods <p>The mostly uninhabited neighborhood of Onion Creek in southeast Austin has experienced some growth.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">But it’s growth the few neighbors who are back do not welcome.</span></p><p>Mold and mildew is growing in many of the homes that were left uninhabited after last year’s floods, which could create health problems for those living in Onion Creek.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/132124323&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 14:41:33 +0000 Joy Diaz 9674 at http://kut.org Onion Creek Residents Worry About Mold After Halloween Floods First Floods, Now This: Onion Creek Residents Face Break-Ins, Thefts http://kut.org/post/first-floods-now-onion-creek-residents-face-break-ins-thefts <p>The holidays can be prime for home break-ins – after all, that’s when people go out of town for a few days and leave their homes unattended.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But imagine what happens when an entire neighborhood is forced out of their homes – and the vast majority of houses remain uninhabited for almost three months. That’s the situation in flood-stricken Onion Creek in southwest Austin.</span><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F130699201&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:01:00 +0000 Joy Diaz 9608 at http://kut.org First Floods, Now This: Onion Creek Residents Face Break-Ins, Thefts MLK Day Cleanup Rids Flood-Stricken Onion Creek Park of Debris http://kut.org/post/mlk-day-cleanup-rids-flood-stricken-onion-creek-park-debris <p>The flood-stricken neighborhood of Onion Creek honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today by cleaning a community park that’s been covered with debris since last year’s Halloween flood.</p><p>Metallic doors, glass from broken windows, gas tanks were among the many items strewn about the park.&nbsp;Mary-Lee&nbsp;Plumb-Mentjes&nbsp;filled an entire bucket with broken glass. “I’ve always picked up trash,”&nbsp;Plumb-Mentjes&nbsp;said. “We’ve been given two hands [and] I feel we should use [them] when we see something,”</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F130514912&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 21:06:53 +0000 Joy Diaz 9594 at http://kut.org MLK Day Cleanup Rids Flood-Stricken Onion Creek Park of Debris After Unwanted Towing, APD Orders Most Tow Trucks in Onion Creek to Back Off http://kut.org/post/after-unwanted-towing-apd-orders-most-tow-trucks-onion-creek-back <p>In the days following <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-travis-county-works-rebuild-devastating-halloween-floods" target="_blank">last year's Halloween floods</a>, tow trucks were indispensable to the Onion Creek community in Southeast Austin.</p><p>The flood disabled hundreds of vehicles and left them scattered throughout the area — some were in the middle of the road, while others careened into people's homes. But, after the waters receded, some say towing companies have developed a habit of towing cars — even when they’re not asked to do so.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F130396855&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 14:12:25 +0000 Joy Diaz 9588 at http://kut.org After Unwanted Towing, APD Orders Most Tow Trucks in Onion Creek to Back Off Why Some Flood Homeowners Think Twice Before Selling to the City of Austin http://kut.org/post/why-some-flood-homeowners-think-twice-selling-city-austin <p>The city of Austin has made offers to buy at least two dozen homes <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-travis-county-works-rebuild-devastating-halloween-floods" target="_blank">damaged by the Halloween flood</a>. Why then, are some homeowners refusing to sell?</p><p>Floods are nothing new in South East Austin’s Onion Creek neighborhood. And neither is the <a href="http://austintexas.gov/department/onion-creek" target="_blank">city’s buyout program.</a> It began back in 1998. The idea has always been to buy homes in the floodplain using taxpayer money to avoid future loss of life and property damages.</p><p>Terry Morris, a contractor and a real estate agent in Austin, owns a duplex in Onion Creek that’s been on the city’s buyout list for years. He recently opted out of the program. <iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/129740380&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 12:48:25 +0000 Joy Diaz 9565 at http://kut.org Why Some Flood Homeowners Think Twice Before Selling to the City of Austin 11 Weeks After Flooding, Animal Carcasses Removed From Onion Creek (Update) http://kut.org/post/11-weeks-after-flooding-animal-carcasses-removed-onion-creek-update <p><b>Update:&nbsp;</b>Austin Resource Recovery confirms that all 5 horse carcasses on public land were removed Tuesday afternoon.</p><p><strong>Original Post:</strong> More than two months after flooding in Southeast Austin killed several people and caused millions of dollars in damage, the clean up continues. But some things left behind by the floodwaters are particularly disturbing: at least half a dozen dead horses.</p><p>The city has yet to retrieve the bodies of horses killed in the flooding which, in&nbsp;some cases, lie a short distance from people’s homes—people like&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Lydia </span>Huerta. She<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> says there are moments where the stench from the dead animals is unbearable. Her</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;backyard is directly in front of a city park where some carcasses still remain.</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/129557937&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p></p><p><em><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><strong>Editor's Note:</strong> You can view photos of some of the animals in question&nbsp;<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kutaustin/sets/72157639771938076">here</a>, though the photos are gruesome and may not be suitable for some.</span></em> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 16:28:06 +0000 Joy Diaz 9549 at http://kut.org 11 Weeks After Flooding, Animal Carcasses Removed From Onion Creek (Update) Travis County Provides Tax Relief for Flood Victims http://kut.org/post/travis-county-provides-tax-relief-flood-victims <p>It is property tax season and, for the people affected by <a href="http://kut.org/term/halloween-floods">last October’s floods</a>, there will be some relief. The <a href="http://kut.org/post/obama-issues-disaster-declaration-austins-halloween-flooding">disaster declaration</a> Texas Governor Rick Perry signed in December means flood victims can have their properties re-assessed and can make their payments in installments.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The relief will be small, since it will only cover the months of November and December, but Travis County <a href="http://www.co.travis.tx.us/tax_assessor/">Tax Assessor Bruce </a></span><a href="http://www.co.travis.tx.us/tax_assessor/">Elfant</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;said at a press conference today that, for over 600 properties, the relief means they’ll have a smaller tax payment.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Fri, 03 Jan 2014 19:03:28 +0000 Joy Diaz 9482 at http://kut.org Travis County Provides Tax Relief for Flood Victims With Help from the Community, Flood Survivors Celebrate the Holidays http://kut.org/post/help-community-flood-survivors-celebrate-holidays <p>These days, the streets in the Onion Creek neighborhood look desolate.</p><p>Rows and rows of homes are still boarded up. But as you walk down the streets, you can see the occasional truck hauling construction materials and hear the clatter of recovery, as crews work to rebuild what was lost in the flooding over Halloween weekend last October.</p><p>While the cleanup efforts continue, and homes are rebuilt, over the holidays it was the giving spirit of strangers that really helped families get back to normal after the floods.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/127713173&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 03 Jan 2014 17:38:02 +0000 Joy Diaz 9480 at http://kut.org With Help from the Community, Flood Survivors Celebrate the Holidays LISTEN: How One Austin Family is Rebuilding After the Halloween Floods http://kut.org/post/listen-how-one-austin-family-rebuilding-after-halloween-floods <p><em>This year, KUT News is chronicling the challenges and changes affecting Austin’s Dove Springs neighborhood in a series called “<strong><a href="http://kut.org/topic/dove-springs-turning-corner">Turning the Corner</a></strong>.”</em></p><p><em>These stories have taken on added urgency in the aftermath of Austin’s Halloween floods, where flooding directly affected many Dove Springs residents.&nbsp;</em></p><p>Bene Jacobs’ morning routine hasn’t changed that much. She still gets up before 6 a.m., before it’s light outside.</p><p>In the darkness, at her cousin’s house in Del Valle, Bene struggles to find her way into the room where her children sleep.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">“Still learning all the light switches,” she whispers.</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F121221777&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 18:04:12 +0000 Joy Diaz 9235 at http://kut.org LISTEN: How One Austin Family is Rebuilding After the Halloween Floods Cause of Onion Creek Flood Gauge Failure Still Unknown http://kut.org/post/cause-onion-creek-flood-gauge-failure-still-unknown <p>Early on the morning of Oct.&nbsp;31, as waters rose to historic levels in Onion Creek, two of the flood gauges that officials rely on to monitor water levels weren't working. The flooding heavily <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-travis-county-works-rebuild-devastating-halloween-floods">damaged more than 600 homes and killed five</a>.</p><p>One gauge was completely submerged by water, damaging the equipment&nbsp;–&nbsp;which isn't waterproof. But the other had malfunctioned before the flooding even began. And more than two weeks after the Halloween Floods, city and emergency officials still don't know why.</p><p>The gauges, which are managed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), provide emergency responders with critical information during floods about how fast and how high flood waters are rising. In Austin, there are 130 flood gauges that measure water levels, rainfall and low-water crossings 24 hours a day.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/120725838" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 16:45:44 +0000 Kate McGee 9204 at http://kut.org Cause of Onion Creek Flood Gauge Failure Still Unknown Rebuilding After Austin Floods? Watch Out For These Health Hazards http://kut.org/post/rebuilding-after-austin-floods-watch-out-these-health-hazards <p>The Halloween flooding in Onion Creek devastated an already underserved community in southeast Austin. Now, people&nbsp;like 18-year-old Frank Amaya need help with the cleanup of their streets and neighborhoods.</p><p>"My home was flooded. All three cars were totaled. My Dodge ended up in a forest all crushed with other cars,"&nbsp;Amaya&nbsp;said. He was one of the hundreds of people who came to Perez Elementary School Tuesday night to vent frustrations with city officials and learn about recovery efforts.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/119010647" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 07 Nov 2013 17:20:17 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 9128 at http://kut.org Rebuilding After Austin Floods? Watch Out For These Health Hazards Lack of Bilingual Communication Hampered Relief Efforts After Halloween Floods http://kut.org/post/lack-bilingual-communication-hampered-relief-efforts-after-halloween-floods <p>Residents and teachers at Perez Elementary say little information was distributed to residents immediately after flooding in Austin's Onion Creek and Dove Springs neighborhoods last week, leaving some residents confused and unsure where to turn — especially those who don't speak English.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When&nbsp;</span>Pompilio<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;Perez left his home in Dove Springs to go to work at 5 a.m. last Thursday morning. It was raining, but there was no sign of flooding. Thirty minutes later he couldn’t even drive down his own street where his wife, Ana, and his three children were at home. Ana Perez and her kids were rescued from their roof and, by Saturday, they had returned. At that point, she says, they hadn’t received any help.</span></p><p> Tue, 05 Nov 2013 17:24:15 +0000 Kate McGee 9092 at http://kut.org Lack of Bilingual Communication Hampered Relief Efforts After Halloween Floods