Minot, after the flood

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footbridgeMinot before the flood (Photo by Elly Blue)

We’re throwing a fundraiser for our friends’ flood relief work in their hometown of Minot, North Dakota.

What: Tall Bikes Keep Heads Above Water: Punk Rock Relief for Minot Flooding.
When: Saturday, July 30th from 2-7
Where: Microcosm Store parking lot, 636 SE 11th Ave in Portland.
What’s up: Portland’s tallbike riders will wash your bike for a donation. There’ll be musical entertainment coordinated by our distinguished friends behind the Tall Tour. And a composting port-a-potty. Rock on.

Minot is a small place. It didn’t exactly make national news when the Souris river flooded with cold water rushing down from Canada and much of the city of 40,000 people spent weeks under water. The river’s gone down, but many residents are still displaced. Cleanup is costly and the housing shortage caused by the Dakotas’ oil boom is now much worse, forcing many locals to consider moving out of the area.

The day the flood hit record levels, Joe was on the last Amtrak train to go through Minot. Our friend Billy Luetzen swung by the station with some homemade lunch, and then got back in his pickup truck and helped some more neighbors evacuate their large appliances.

Now we want to return the favor. Billy and his friends, many of from them students and recent graduates of Minot State University who were also raised in the area and plan to stay local, are continuing their flood cleanup work. This involves going into neighbors’ houses and hauling out heavy, mildewed, sewage-infused couches and other furniture. They need money for such mundane items as rubber gloves, trash bags, and fuel for the pickup truck — and also for masks to keep the mold out of rescue volunteers’ lungs (you have to wear the heavy duty ones or risk getting “the mold cold”).

They’re coordinating their work — and chronicling it — through their nonprofit community center and all ages music space, Pangaea House. This space is the current iteration of Minot’s all ages music scene, which has been pretty much continuous for about 20 years — which is pretty amazingly special. They brought us in last year to be part of their annual Why Not Fest — which they’re holding again this August despite everything. We’re going to try to make it there, Amtrak willing. If we can’t, maybe you can.

In the meantime, we’re celebrating the Minot kids’ community spirit in conjunction with some of our favorite purveyors of all ages music, the Tall Tour — these guys carry all their equipment by tall bike and do roving shows throughout the city. The show (here’s the Facebook page so you can let all your friends know) will feature Portland DIY punk band the Taxpayers, “honest hip hop” group DMLH, punk-country balladeer C.S. Koch, and guitarist Rachel Freifelder (she’s writing a song just for the occasion).

Bring enough cash for a box of gloves or a tank of gas. Get your bike washed and then offset that water use by using the composting port-a-potty. If you can’t make it but want to donate something anyway, paypal it to eleanor dot blue at gmail and drop me a note so I know where to pass it along. Thank you!