Clinton visits Grand Forks to commemorate 1997 floodby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
Moorhead, Minn. — Former President Bill Clinton says he learned important lessons about responding to disasters 15 years ago when a flood devastated the cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.
"All told I think we put almost $500 million into this -- into the immediate relief efforts and then another $171 million in community development block grants to rebuild the city," he said Saturday when he returned to the banks of the Red River for a ceremony to mark the flood's anniversary.
Clinton asked to visit the river and rebuilt areas of the city before heading off to North Dakota's Democratic-NPL Party convention yesterday. He congratulated Grand Forks residents on their recovery, praising the "beautiful" reult.
"I loved walking down the streets," he said.
"This really does kind of bring it full circle, because President Clinton was here when we were at our worst," said Grand Forks spokesman Kevin Dean. "And now he will be here when we are certainly at the best level we've been ever in our history."
A large system of permanent levees now protect Grand Forks and East Grand Forks from flooding.