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Fargo and Moorhead close in on goals for sandbagging­

FARGO -- The city was one-third of the way to its sandbagging goal Saturday while folks in Moorhead have filled one-fourth of the bags that city expects it'll need for forecasted flood levels.

Terry Ludlum, Fargo Solid Waste Utility manager, put the number of filled sandbags at 312,000 of the 1 million-bag goal.

And that was with one of the three Sandbag Central's bag-filling machines sitting quietly idle.

"We'd love to have the third one going eventually," said Myron Berglund, a volunteer coordinator at Sandbag Central.

Ludlum said he thought about 400 volunteers pitched in Saturday at the Solid Waste building, 2301 Eighth Ave. N. in Fargo. Had they come in four-hour shifts, they could have housed 1,800. Ludlum said they had 100 to 150 people Monday through Thursday and about 250 on Friday.

Cole Jack, a North Dakota State University freshman, was putting in his third day of volunteering.

"Someone's got to fill the bags. They're not going to do it themselves," he said.

South Fargo resident Brandon Medenwald said turnout has been good but could have been better.

"A few more people here and we're going to be set," he said.

On the Moorhead side, Director of Operations Chad Martin said turnout had been "pretty good" with "30 to 40 people there pretty steady." And that's up from last week, he said.

The city had 76,000 bags "on the ground" as of 4:30 p.m., Martin said, and he thought it was possible they might hit 80,000 by the end of the day.

That 76,000 puts the city at about a quarter of the way to its goal of 300,000 bags, and Martin said he believes they're on pace to fulfill that need.

"I'm feeling comfortable," Martin said. But he'd feel "a lot more comfortable" if the 300,000 were in hand.

That total will give them what they need up to a 38-foot crest. If predictions top that, Martin said they will "start the machine back up."