Family’s home on the brink of falling into Yellowstone River

Montana

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BILLINGS, Montana – The Yellowstone River has breathtaking views and is a popular spot for recreation this time of year, but as the river changes direction over time, it’s powerful current can bring devastating consequences.

Jolene Borg says when she was a little girl, she used to walk from one side of the river to the other all the time, but now the river has moved and sped up, washing away her family’s home.

“It’s our home. We’ve been here 42 years, and it would be very heartbreaking to lose it,” Borg said.

She says in the last two years, the river has changed dramatically, washing away the bank her home sits on.

Three weeks ago Jolene’s parents were in the house when they heard a loud crash. The greenhouse and part of their bedroom had fallen into the river.

“They said that it was pretty eerie because it sounded all the way through the house. It shook the house,” Borg said.

The family is still living in the home, with all their belongings and bedding moved to the front rooms.

Next door, a trailer hangs above the river bank, abandoned by the owner since December, according to Rivergrove Estates Manager Rick Hartman.

Jolene says she’s trying to work with the trailer court and an engineer to fix the eroding bank, but the total project could cost up to $270,000.

“I want to get it fixed. I have nowhere else to go other than here and try to make it work here.”

Hartman says the owner of the trailer court is willing to work with engineers to fix the problem, but says Yellowstone County Floodplain won’t let them reinforce the bank because of a changing high water line.

Borg tried to do the project herself, but says getting a permit from the county to build the new bank is nearly impossible. Borg says if she, the county, and the trailer court can’t come to an agreement, she’ll lose more of her beloved home, and she says other homes down river could be threatened as well.

“It’s just something that we have to fix before anything else goes with our house, and if it doesn’t get fixed it’s going to go and take the whole bank, and it can go all the way to Josephine Crossing. It can go that far. You never know what the river’s going to do.”

This article was first published by fellow CNN affiliate KULR. It is used here with permission.

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