Dec 20, 2010 9:56 PM by Ariel Wesler

Flooding evacuees in Guadalupe waiting to return home

Families in Guadalupe are waiting to find out when they can return home and begin cleaning up after last night's flooding on the 800 block of Pioneer Street. City leaders say it's highly unlikely affected families will be spending Christmas at home.

Pastor Raymond Leon returned to his flooded church in Guadalupe with a positive attitude.

"I'm blessed for success and too blessed to be stressed," Leon said.

The water has receded at his Apostolic church but what's left is a muddy mess.

The kitchen in the back of the building took on one to two feet of water.

"You can see the mark there. That's where the water went up to," Leon said.

The church was preparing for Christmas Eve services on Friday and needed the kitchen for a tamale fundraiser.

"Now I gotta look for another place who lends me a kitchen, so we can make our tamales because we have people waiting for them," Leon said.

Neighbors like Jose Martinez suffered similar damage to his home.

Martinez: "It's supposed to be a wood floor. I put it in myself."

Reporter: Now, it's all mud.

Martinez: "It's mud."

His house on Pioneer Street was one of two inspectors red tagged as too dangerous along with four apartments and the church. Meanwhile, until evacuees are allowed to return home, many are staying at the Red Cross Shelter at Guadalupe City Hall. The mayor brought clothes and toys for local families.

"If you're an adult, you're probably kind of bummed out. If you're a kid, this is kinda fun, especially when the mayor is showing up with presents," said Red Cross Shelter Manager Coleen Hafley.

Right now, there is no levee west of Hwy 1. The city and other area agencies sent a letter to Congresswoman Lois Capps earlier this year urging her to get federal funding to extend the levee.

Capps' office says because Guadalupe was not included in the initial levee project when it was built in the 1950s and 1960s, the levee could not be extended as part of the current repair project.


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