Eagle: Rebuilding Master Plan Coming Together…


eagle house

It’s working!

Jul 31, 2009

Good news from Eagle! Residents. working side-by-side with volunteers from around the country, are well on their way toward meeting the goal of building thirteen log homes in Eagle by September 12 to replace homes that were washed away in the ice flood last spring.

As we pause to provide an update we bid farewell to eleven Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteer builders and welcome 14 fresh recruits. Lessons learned by the first crew will be passed on by three MDS volunteers that will be staying on, and by residents of Eagle who have been working side-by-side with the MDS volunteers.

In two weeks time the exterior walls are nearing completion on three homes, and roof trusses are beginning to take shape on one. The start of a fourth home and delivery of the logs for two additional homes coincided with the arrival of the new crew.  We are well on our way towards meeting the goal of building thirteen log homes in Eagle by September 12.

Other groups pitching in have been Samaritan’s Purse, LightShine Ministies and the Boy Scouts.

The Bureau of Land Management waived fees at beautiful Ft. Egbert campground and individuals are helping out while camping out.

Christina Young, a pilot spending her fourth summer flying throughout Alaska,  dropped in to help and a canoeist, paddling the Yukon River, stopped and volunteered for couple of days – just a couple of the many individuals donating their time and energy to the rebuilding frenzy.

It seems like the gravel and log home kits are making it to Eagle in time – an amazing example of bureaucracy and community working together.

But these are not Lincoln log homes that fit together perfectly. Those assembling the kits still need hardware and tools.

Eagle’s website has a list of needed items so I asked Eagle’s Volunteer Coordinator, Rob Paire, what the best address to send flat rate boxes of smaller items would be.

We are really working on two fronts, the first front is demolition of the old houses, the second is construction of new houses. Both fronts are going well at the moment.

Also I have not had time to update the needs list for quite some time, and I have received many donations so sorry. The most helpful thing for us to deal with is cash donations.

Look at the list. It seems like someone at the state or federal level should have realized you can’t rebuild a town without nails, ladders, saw horses and levels and had all these items in place when the kit homes arrived.

While the former governor was conducting a farewell tour and picnic series, private citizens were sending battery operated drills and nails to Eagle.

We can only hope that the next administration is  better equipped to address the challenges that face rural Alaskans.

* * *

The Warm Hearts Fund, set up by Big Ray’s in Fairbanks, is collecting monetary donations to help Eagle residents replace winter survival gear that was lost in the flood. This is a convenient way to make sure our neighbors are snug both inside and outside their new homes next winter.

22 Responses to “Eagle: Rebuilding Master Plan Coming Together…”

  1. elsie09 Says:

    When Hurricane Ike approached the Texas coast a year ago, governing officials with the City of Houston, the (enormous) County of Harris, and the State of Texas, and, with a bit of federal help, came together and staged themselves in preparation for looming disaster. As soon as the hurricane passed through the area, thousands of people were on the ground, looking after their communities’ inhabitants. Service providers and emergency goods started moving through the region; within hours of the disaster, people began receiving needed critical food, ice and water.

    I bring this up to ask this question:
    What assistance has come directly from the State of Alaska and the regional government to help the citizens of Eagle since the big, spring ice flood? Disasters occur in Alaska regularly, it seems, with all the issues of winter and the spring thaws….So where is the Alaskan Disaster Team? Who are they? What is their funding? Who directs them? Who appointed them, or, were they elected to serve their communities?

    WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT THE MECHANICS OF ALASKAN DISASTER RELIEF MANAGEMENT? Because, SURELY, there MUST be a governmentally-based disaster team up there SOMEWHERE, huh?

  2. anonymousbloggers Says:


    If they have a team to respond to rural disasters, it’s probably like other rural committees we’ve read about lately – they have been appointed to serve and travel at their own expense.

    The recently formed Rural Native Outreach Committee, the answer to the lack of Native representation on the NPFMC is one example.

    Another is the Rural Alaska Subcommittee Sarah Palin signed into law last December. It looks good on paper and includes two Native members. Included in the provisions, “To the extent that travel is required, each member of the subcabinet is responsible for the member’s own travel expenses.”

    If they have ever held a meeting, and I haven’t been able to find a membership roster or any evidence that they ever have, they likely met in Anchorage, like the Rural Outreach Committee will on August 12, or Juneau.

    It seems to me that only an urban Native could afford to serve on a rural committee. How fair is that?


  3. UgaVic Says:

    Please also realize that here in Alaska that IF you travel on your own expenses it is MAJOR.

    Overall we have few major/good roads, nothing of any real kind in Western AK, and most places are not connected by the road system.

    We MUST fly, as boat/ferry travel is also very limited, into our capital to visit the legislature, to any meetings held in our respective areas, to meetings in Anchorage and/or most times Fairbanks!!

    Thus for those that do pay their own way I have to give a HUGE THANK YOU for doing so. It takes EXTRA commitment in Alaska to do this!!

  4. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    Did the rural advisor, John Moller ever make it to Eagle? Is he advising in a vacuum, or what? If I had that job (Jan 09), by now I’d practically be speaking some Yup’ik, as well as having every single village on a huge map with villagers family names and pictures – don’t forget the the gathering together in one place of all the local, state and federal programs set up, or proposed, for rural Alaska. Whew, I would have had all that done by March. Then I would be visiting all the villages with a tape recorder (or personal video). Now I’ve talked myself into wanting that job – how absolutely rewarding and fascinating it would be!

    Oh, maybe I would have to visit the villages first so I could put family names and pictures on the village map. Whatever!

  5. Jim Says:

    In the October 23, 2008 AP article in the Anchorage Daily News “Palin Tells AFN She’s Forming Rural Subcabinet” the governor said, “As I envision it, the subcabinet will work closely with representatives of rural communities, tribes, corporations, nonprofits and other entities to discuss issues of concern and to design acceptable solutions.”

    Although the (former) governor went to Eagle, I’m not sure if the rural subcabinet ever convened in response to that disaster.

    If they haven’t been meeting, I wouldn’t see how they could be engaged with rural issues or working closely with anyone. Conspicuously this subcabinet was announced a few weeks before the November election.

  6. Gramiam Says:

    I think I would be asking some pretty pointed questions of the current administration (Sean Parnell) and also of those persons who have announced plans to campaign to replace him. This abuse of an entire segment of the population of Alaska has got to stop!

  7. Kath the Scrappy Says:

    Did I read on some thread that they have to ‘de-bark’ the logs as well? I would expect the first homes would have taken a little more time, to figure out, then the rest would go more quickly than the first (because of experience acquired & assembly line methods).

    At what point does the insulation/drywall installation inside happen before people can move in (primitive as that homecoming might be)? Or does that have to happen later after the September 12th dateline (hopeful date)?

    After doing mold abatement myself, huge country kitchen & the downstairs gutted & washing dishes in my bathtub for 10-months, it’s remarkable how many things once considered necessary can be survived without when you have to. My contractor later said that he couldn’t believe anyone could have lived in this house for the year & half it took altogether. But when you’ve got no money after paying a mortgage, you just have to live with what you have. And Eagle seems to be doing just that!

    This is pretty exciting to watch unfold. What exceptional progress they’re all making! Fantastic!!!

  8. Kath the Scrappy Says:

    Really, what exceptional TEAMWORK!

  9. alaskapi Says:

    There is a disaster preparedness outfit here – within the Dept of Military and Veterans Affairs.
    The daily logs of activities ends May 29- around the time breakup was complete along the whole rivers…
    What , specifically, has been done since then is quite unclear for we regular folks on the street.
    Whatever the joint implementation team -state and FEMA – is ACTUALLY doing is beyond the time I have today to look for.

    It IS exciting to see the homes starting to go up and I think FEMA gets gold stars for recognizing the short window Eagle and other communities along the Yukon have for getting themselves ready for winter.



    SITUATION REPORT 09-212 • JULY 31, 2009

    Operational Environment
    • DHS&EM continues to work with FEMA on approved federal assistance for the 09 Spring Floods.
    • The SECC is monitoring the wildfire situation statewide. See AICC attachments for details.
    • Flood and Dense Smoke Advisories were issued today by the Alaska National Weather Service
    (see NWS weather forecast below)
    Declared Disasters – Recovery Phase
    Federal Disasters:
    • FEMA-1843-DR-AK – Spring flooding and ice jam flooding:
    In support of an approved FEMA federal assistance for the 09 Spring Floods, DHS&EM and FEMA
    have established a Joint Field Office (JFO) in Anchorage. A joint FEMA/State field team continues
    to implement the FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA) Programs.
    PHHHHHT on the rural subcabinet!
    If it even still exists , it seems to have been in an advisory-when-we-sorta-have-time-sorta-decide-to-think-about-sorta-do-we-really-have-to-think-about? capacity.
    NOthing in relation to immediate or long range needs for rural Alaska has had the attention it deserves and I long ago decided this rural subcabinet was another one of those endless advisory committees which probably never met or if they did spent more time coming up with an agenda than doing anything except ordering out for pizza… PHHHHT.

  10. elsie09 Says:

    Jim quotes from an AP article in the Anchorage Daily News in which the governor visualized the purpose of her new Rural Alaska Subcommittee last fall as one “to DISCUSS issues of concern and to DESIGN acceptable solutions.” That’s a start.

    My next thought was: Then, what? What system is in place to DEAL with “issues of concern” the Rural Subcommittee discusses and ACTIVATE the powers-that-be to manage the aftereffects of disasters in any consistent, productive way? Where is mention of IMPLEMENTING solutions?

    Note that each member of the Rural Alaska Subcommittee is responsible for his own travel expenses. With few roads across Alaska, and the expense of flights and connections between various small airports, how successful can the subcommittee really be when no funds were allocated for travel expenses? How severely limited is this subcommittee in meeting together themselves, much less visiting rural locations to meet directly with rural people to discuss their “issues of concern” and then “design acceptable solutions?

    Was Palin’s original intent to make the subcommittee just look good on paper? Give the group a really nice-sounding name? Maybe just humor “the little people” a bit to shut them up and confuse them that someone who holds power in their government actually gives a damn about them?

    Someone, please tell me:
    What is the REAL purpose of the Rural Alaska Subcommittee?

    Where is real leadership up there?

    What does it take for Alaska’s people to get the support of their elected leaders in times of crisis?

  11. alaskapi Says:

    Here’s a link to the administrative order by past governor establishing the rural subcabinet and a snippet of the language regarding the purported purpose.


    “The Alaska Rural Action Subcabinet (subcabinet) shall advise the Office of the Governor on the preparation and implementation of a rural needs strategy that recognizes and works to preserve the culture and way of life, including reliance on subsistence resources, of rural Alaskans. In view of its purpose, the subcabinet shall study

    rural migration patterns; and

    the cost of energy in rural Alaska.

    In further examining the sustainability of life in rural Alaska, the subcabinet should also consider the following non-prioritized issues:

    state and tribal relations;

    local self-governance;

    sustainable local economies;

    rural education;

    rural law enforcement;

    availability of affordable telecommunications and transportation;

    creation, maintenance, and replacement of infrastructure;

    public safety in rural Alaska;

    rural workforce training options;

    coordination of existing resources;

    availability of emergency services; and

    any other issue which the subcabinet considers important to rural Alaska”

    Other than serving as a possible idea generator for the governor to come up with a plan for rural Alaska , the subcabinet has no real activity which relates to solving crises of any sort in rural Alaska themselves…
    So it’s probably a good thing they have such a low to non-existent profile…

  12. Jim Says:

    Other names could include:

    Rural subordinate cabinet

    Rural subterranean cabinet

    Rural submerged cabinet

  13. alaskapi Says:

    rural submerged… sounds best to me :-D

  14. alaskapi Says:



    “August 3, Good news. Additional generators to power saws, sanders, planers, and log wizards for volunteer crews building houses to replace those destroyed by the ice jam flooding have been secured. Much thanks to the generous donors! ”
    72 days til the road to Eagle closes now…

    Aug 1st entry almost did me in…
    KUDOS to all in Eagle , volunteers and residents, who are helping each other get through all the levels of coping necessary to rebuilding homes and lives there…

  15. elsie09 Says:

    That’s outstandingly good news! Yee-haw! I so wish I could load up some able-bodied college students I know, my very useful husband, and bring them up there with me, and all of us contribute some hours of sweat equity to the villages there in so much need. Keep the news coming, Alaskapi.

  16. alaskapi Says:

    http://www.eaglecity.org/rebuild-eagle-needs-list as of Aug 5

    ” All Trades

    At this time there is a critical need for those skilled in all phases of construction and demolition

    Ongoing Need – CRITICAL ”

    Subsistence fishing needs and basic tools and supplies needs HAVE been met- yay!

    I cannot help with this current need… anyone out there reading this? Can you?

    71 days until road to Eagle closes…

  17. alaskapi Says:

    AKM has posted a wonderful story with photos from mudpup, lovemydogs, about the trip lovemydogs and her hubby made to Eagle, to help, in early August.


    The devastation was made even more real with the accompanying photos.
    I miss YBG… and find myself wondering how she and her hubby are doing getting their new place finished. ..

    As of today- 18 days until the road to Eagle closes for the winter.

  18. alaskapi Says:

    from a month ago…

    “State and federal disaster managers say they have found a way to help offset a cash-strapped utility’s repair bills stemming from the spring Yukon floods that destroyed much of Eagle.

    David Andrews, an emergency management specialist with the Alaska Division of Military and Veterans Affairs, said Friday the government will pick up more than 40 percent of $637,000 in repair costs Alaska Power & Telephone was concerned it would have to pass on to its customers…”

    We have had our neighbors in Eagle on our minds… everyday.

  19. Kath the Scrappy Says:

    Excellent article, Thanks alaskapi!

    I’m sure that will be a tremendous relief for Eagle residents.

  20. alaskapi Says:

    From today, Oct 6th, the road into Eagle closes in 9 days…
    what a long summer these neighbors have had…


    “September 30,

    “There are seven new homes in the new Eagle Village, two more on the new Village Road, four rebuilt at ground zero, and two near the boat landing in town. Fifteen homes rebuilt! They are so beautiful!

    We have been moving into our home this week and I have to say it is like a dream! We are so humbled to have been given this amazing gift. It truly is a house built by God! THANK YOU!!!!”

    ~an Eagle Resident whose home was rebuilt following the devastating Yukon River floods”
    This is a neat way to support the historical socoety ventures there…


    “While the Eagle cookbook was published by a company in Tennessee the cover is not a stock photo, but rather a picture of a windowsill filled with delightful treats. The view beyond the mouthwatering pies, cakes and cookies is looking out the window of Elva Scott’s home toward the Yukon River. Turner reports that Scott’s home is gone, “not even a scrap of it left after the ice jam and flooding.” The late Scott was the museum’s longtime director and president of the Eagle Historical Society.

    If you’re looking for a new book for your cookbook collection or a holiday gift, the $10 (plus shipping) for the Eagle cookbook is money well spent and will help out the museum. All proceeds go straight to the historical society’s programs and projects. Publication costs were covered years ago so all the money helps the nonprofit organization. It’s easy to order at http://www.eagleak.org. ”


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