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Oil Spill One Year Anniversary: Northwoods Remains Partially Empty

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the oil spill in Mayflower that dumped hundreds of thousands of crude oil into a residential neighborhood. Drew Petrimoulx spoke with a Northwoods resident who says the neighborhood hasn't been the same since the spill and still remains mainly empty.

MAYFLOWER, AR -- Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the oil spill in Mayflower that dumped hundreds of thousands of crude oil into a residential neighborhood. 

"The neighborhood is not the same," said Northwoods resident, Michele Ward.

One year after oil flowed down N. Starlite Road much has changed.

Countless hours of cleanup have streets and yards tar free, but many homes remain empty still.

"This street used to be filled with kids after school everyday playing, so that's definitely changed," said Ward.  

Ward is one of the few left on her block. Most of her neighbors sold to Exxon Mobile and moved away.  She says interest the company showed immediately after the spill has faded. 

"They disrupted a lot of things, and they were concerned about it in the beginning," explained Ward. "I don't think they're very concerned about it at all now."

To gauge the feelings of others in the Northwoods subdivision we went door to door.  It was difficult to get folks to agree to an on-camera interview as many have been instructed by their lawyers not to speak with media.   But there are those who told us off camera they're happy with Exxon's efforts.

During a public meeting this week Mayflower's mayor touted improvements to the streets and landscaping paid for by Exxon. The company said it's beginning efforts to sell off two dozen homes the company owns.

Ward built the home she lives in four years before the spill happened. She says she's reluctant to leave but with most of her neighbors gone, she wonders if she'd be better off starting over somewhere else.

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