A sinking feeling amid flood damage at Haworth Park

As part of The World-Herald’s ongoing coverage of last summer’s flooding, I recently was assigned to go to Haworth Park in Bellevue for a story about repairs and plans to reopen by Labor Day. Chad Addison from the Bellevue Parks Department served as my guide. See more images from the park in a photo showcase here.

Bellevue city parks official Chad Addison walks though what is left at Haworth Park after Missouri River flooding damaged it in 2011.

I had been to the park before, but I would knew I wouldn’t find much recognizable, so I was glad Addison came along.

Silt covers everything. It’s smooth and has very little definition, and that’s not easy to convey in an image. It’s hard to help the reader grasp the amount of silt present.

Sand deposited by floodwaters sits on a a basketball court at Haworth Park in Bellevue on Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. The highest point on the sand was about 5 feet.

It’s very easy to underestimate the amount of silt, so I tried to use common objects to give readers an idea. I found a fire hydrant that was nearly covered.

One of the more dramatic sites I had came across was a large area of the shore that had been washed away. The rocks that lined the shore are still in place, but much of what was behind them is gone. I found these wooden pylons jutting out of the water and I had asked Addison what they were. He had been informed that they were left over from work that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had done in the 1950s.  That helped put some perspective on just how historic this flood was.

Looking out from Haworth Park at rocks that used to mark the shore of the Missouri River before flooding in 2011. Bellevue city parks official Chad Addison believes the wooden pylons are left from when the Corps of Engineers originally dug the channel in the 1950s.

Walking through the park left me covered in mud. The longer you remain standing in one place, the farther you sink in. When the mud surrounds your shoe, it creates a bit of a pull when you try to move. I’m one of those people (much to mother’s chagrin) who doesn’t tie his shoes very tight, so I had to keep moving or the mud would pull my shoes right off my feet.

My shoes after I had cleaned most of the mud off them. I assume it will take a few days before they are fully presentable.


See more images from Haworth Park in a photo showcase here.

Chris Machian

About Chris Machian

I was born in Omaha, graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a journalism degree in 2004 and have spent most of my life here. I was a photo intern with the Omaha World-Herald in 2003 and had various roles with the company before becoming a staff photographer. I love to shoot UNO hockey and last year placed video and still cameras inside the goal to provide our readers with another unique perspective. My goal is to use available technology in ways that help our readers understand the stories we cover. For instance, in 2011 I used Gigapan technology to provide a wide view of flooded areas while allowing users to zoom in on the smaller details. My love of this job extends beyond disasters and sporting events; I also enjoy covering the events that help define Omaha's cultural landscape.
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  1. Mr. Addison Krebs says:

    I really appreciated your photos as they really tell the story that the flood did to the park and the pictures had nice light and were relatable. I am a student at MIllard South High School and i had the pleasure of looking at your photos and this gives me inspiration for the future!!!

    Addison Krebs

  2. Chris Machian Chris Machian says: