Pompe Way resident tells jury of harrowing times

RENO, NV (KOLO) Karen Johnson says she and her family moved to Pompe Way in 2015. It was a place, she says, her husband, who has Parkinson's, as well as son and grandchild could all live under one roof.

In March 2017, she says flooding like she had never seen spilled over ditches and came from Swan Lake surrounding her house.

“The water was rising too fast, it was getting too dangerous; it wasn't safe. We didn't have sewer or propane; we could not live there,” Johnson told jury members.

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Johnson says they moved out of their home on Pompe Way for one year. Paying a mortgage on the house and rent at an apartment in south Reno, she said it was tough financially.

She says back in their home, they are left with few options as there are cracks on the inside of the home, and there is the never-ending fear the Hesco barriers may not hold.

Plaintiffs in the case are accusing the City of Reno of causing the flooding by pulling water from Silver Lake and the Reno Stead Waste Water Facility and dumping it into Swan Lake.

The city says those hardest hit by the flooding were living in lower elevations, and the storms that year were unprecedented, causing the closed basin to take in water where it had nowhere to go.

Hydrologist David Westhoff took the stand later in the morning. He was, in part, responsible for a study commissioned by the city of Reno in 2007. That study looked at the challenges of development in the north valleys and the water that would make its way to the lowest part of Lemmon Valley.

Options to mediate the problems along with cost analysis were given, but Westhoff testified the city did not implement any of the proposals.

After lunch, jurors were called in one by one to talk to the judge in his chambers. One of those jurors was dismissed after making a statement about the case which was overheard by someone.

The juror was replaced by an alternate, and the trial continued with testimony from another Pompe Way resident.

Because this is a civil trial, the jury does not have to come back with a unanimous decision in this case. Only six of the 8 jurors have to be in agreement.

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