SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- City crews will tackle a logjam on the Mississippi River Friday morning, now that it has become clear the pile of flood debris won't be broken up by nature.
"We have a public safety situation," Joe Campbell, St. Paul's communications director, told KARE.
"We could have a log that dislodges from the pile back here and goes down river and damages private property, damages public property."
The collection of uprooted trees and other debris is among the calling cards left by high waters on the big river, fed by heavy rains in recent weeks.
The logjam is blocking a back channel on the south side of Raspberry Island, creating access issues for the rowers at the Minnesota Boat Club and boaters who have slips in the St. Paul Yacht Club.
Campbell said the cost of breaking up the collection of logs and other debris could exceed $20,000. The city asked the yacht club and the rowing club to share the cost of removing the logjam, based on the idea that those two organizations will benefit the most from the work.
So far the two clubs have rejected the notion, so it's most likely the tab for plucking the trees from the river will be picked up by taxpayers in the Capital City.
"We have a situation that could become much worse and so the quicker we do it the better," Campbell remarked.
"We're going to take care of it. We expect big crowds in downtown St. Paulfor the holiday weekend, and wedon't want this area to become attractive to people to play on or otherwise misbehave."
The US Army Corps of Engineers hasn't intervened yet because the main channel of the river has not been affected by the logjam. Barge traffic has been largely sidelined by high water levels that led the Corps to temporarily close several locks in the Twin Cities area.