Oslo Surrounded by Water, Sandbags Helping Erosion on Permanent Levee
the city is getting about 3,000 sandbags from Warren, Minn.
OSLO, Minn. — A town of about 300 people has shrunk to less than 80. Many have left their homes even though the town has permanent protections in place.
“We could be an island for a week, we could be an island for a month. There’s so many variables so we just encouraged those who couldn’t be stuck in here for that amount of time to make other plans,” said Oslo Mayor Erika Martens.
While the massive ring levee remains intact, officials say around 3,000 sandbags from Warren are being used as an extra precaution.
“It’s not washing out. They’re just having some spots where there’s a little bit of erosion going on and they’re just putting some sandbags down to make sure it doesn’t erode away anymore than it needs to be so they can fix it and there’s not as much,” said Marshall County Sheriff Jason Boman.
The closest you can get to Oslo is about three miles outside of it. That’s unless you have a high water vehicle or a boat.
The Red River crested at 38 feet in town over the weekend, which is nearly a record. With all the roads going in and out of town closed, Governor Tim Walz sent 32 National Guard soldiers to help the town with its flood fighting efforts.
“They’ve been helping us out a ton just driving people in and out who need to get in and out, also bringing in medications that needs to be, have brought in the mail, have brought in groceries for us,” Boman said.
Even as the city remains an island, there’s a certain spirit that can’t be washed away.
“The vibe in town is actually good. Everybody bans together, we’ve had lots of potlucks. We have ladies in town who have made treats for the Guard. It’s really just another day. We’ve just got some waterfront property,” Martens said.
Officials say no homes have been affected in Oslo, but township roads are seeing water as high as four feet. The Salvation Army has made a few stops to bring people supplies.