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Portland flooding impacts couple’s business and home

PORTLAND, Mich. -- Residents on Water Street are still displaced a day after ice jams on the Grand River sparked flooding. The backup also forced Jim and Kiley Hilligan to close ConfluxCity Brewing Company on Wednesday and into part of Thursday. The business sits across from the river.

Kiley said their business has been open for eight months. However, their flooded parking lot is part of the reason for not opening.

"We think there's about 4 feet of water... 4 to 5 feet. We can't tell. Nobody's willing to venture out and find out," Jim said.

"We don't have any issues inside the building. We just don't have any way of getting people here," he explained.

The business is surrounded by icy, slippery sidewalks that they worked to salt and scrape throughout the afternoon. Once making the walkways safe, the couple did manage to open late Thursday afternoon.

"We got costs that happen if you're open or not. We've got utilities, and we've got heat. We've got... just trying to keep all that equipment over there running," Jim said.

Kiley said, "We were thankful that at least this building wasn't affected, but our house right next door is another story. We got about 8 or 9 inches of water in the basement."

That's right. The Hilligans suffered a double whammy.

"We've got three sumps running right now. I'm probably going to go get a bigger pump here in a little while," Jim said.

While dealing with all this has been frustrating, he said there's not much one can do about Mother Nature's impact except roll with it.

"Kiley and I just try to keep a positive attitude. Part of being a brewery owner is just kind of going with the flow and having a cool customer base, and we've kind of just tried to model our lives after that. Go as you go," he said.

Portland's city manager Tutt Gorman said the river appears to have stabilized and the water may be receding. He said officials will, of course, keep a close eye on the levels.

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