Eroding Alaska village to vote on whether to move or stay

ByRachel D'Oro AP logo
Friday, July 29, 2016
Nathan Weyiouanna's abandoned house at the west end of Shishmaref, Alaska, Dec. 8, 2006, sits on the beach after sliding off during a fall storm in 2005.

ANCHORAGE, AK -- A tiny island village on Alaska's storm-battered western coast is entering a new chapter in its decades-long pursuit to move the entire community from its badly eroding shores to safer ground.

The Inupiat Eskimo community of Shishmaref will hold a special election next month asking residents if they should develop a new community at a nearby location on the mainland or stay put with added protections.

Either scenario selected in the Aug. 16 vote would cost millions. That's money the community of nearly 600 doesn't have.

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Regardless of the vote, the impoverished village 600 miles northwest of Anchorage ultimately will have to search for funding to make the choice a reality.

Shishmaref Mayor Howard Weyiouanna Sr. says "doing nothing is not an option."