Vessels moored in Cordova’s North Harbor in August 2023. Photo by Kinsey Brown for The Cordova Times

By Kasandra Kruithof

The city is mandating address changes for some Cordovans, a move that has drawn a lot of scrutiny from local residents.   

The City of Cordova is implementing a policy related to a new citywide address system called the E911 emergency response database. Cordovans received notices in the mail from the city at the end of December informing them of the establishment of this database.  

This database would allow emergency personnel to respond more efficiently to 911 calls in the community by giving them an accurate mapping of the locations of homes and businesses. After the notice went out, Cordovans were also told their new address, if they were in the group of modifications or new assignments.  

The policy was put into motion back in 2012, when it was originally given the go-ahead by the Cordova City Council. Funding was finally allotted in 2022, which allowed the city to contract with GEOComm, an emergency communications company, for the purpose of officially implementing the system.  

It was a hot topic at the Jan. 17 city council meeting, and was heavily commented on by residents of Eyak Drive and South Second Street. This seemingly simple change is causing a headache among these Cordovans, many of whom were shocked to learn about this policy. The city had already assigned physical addresses to these homes several years ago, and the E911 database policy is causing them to be modified due to the updated numbering format that states: “Addresses shall be assigned such that even numbered addresses will be on the south or east side of the street, as appropriate for the roadway. The north or west sides of streets shall be assigned odd numbered addresses.” 


In a letter to the council, locals Roy Wilson and Kristi Wilson wrote about their concern.   

“We understand some places don’t have road names or actual house numbers (specifically out Whitshed), those places need house numbers,” the Wilsons wrote. “We have lived at 6.5 mile for over 25 years. EMS, FedEx, and UPS all know who we are, and where 220 Eyak Drive is. Google Maps knows where our house is. We insist you revisit this idea and find a solution that makes sense.”  

Other locals also wrote in about their feelings on the policy.  

“How do we explain to agencies that we are still living at the same place, we have not moved, only the address changed?” Elke Hagmuller and Wolfgang Hagmuller asked in their public letter. “Or when you apply for a loan or something, where did we live before? Please reconsider, and leave the address the way it is.”  

“Another valid concern is the cost to all the homeowners being forced to change their addresses,” John Wiese and Diane Wiese wrote. “Imagine all the professional billable hours, cost, and time it will take for all of us … to change every legal document we have with our current address attached to the new address that the city is forcing on us.”  

“I have emailed our concerns to our homeowner’s insurance to update our policy. We may have to start an entire new policy to change the address numbers even though our home is on the same Tax Lot Number,” John Wiese and Diane Wiese continued.  

Currently, emergency responders rely on maps with legacy data to navigate to 911 emergencies. Having outdated location information can greatly affect response times, and in turn, response outcomes.  

City Planner Kevin Johnson, Fire Marshall/Deputy Fire Chief Paul Trumblee, and Acting Police Chief Cameron Hayden said in a joint statement to the city council that the policy was created after consulting with the fire marshal and former police chief, who have more than 40 years of combined experience.  

“The decision to change the addresses in those two locations was not taken lightly,” they said. “Over those years they have experienced the chaos and confusion that can occur during the response to an emergency. They have the day-to-day knowledge of the needs and inadequacies that create havoc in this town. They have also witnessed the confusion of the volunteer crews who currently only have a couple of years of experience on average.”  

“Of the roughly 1,000 properties eligible for an address, 84% retained existing addresses, 12% did not have an address and were assigned an address, and 4% had their address modified,” they continued.  

The City Council chose to have a special meeting on Jan. 25 to allow for further discussion about the proposed address changes.  

After hearing divided opinions about the topic from both the public as well as council members, the body ultimately voted to keep Eyak Drive’s addresses the same.  

They did not extend the same decision to South Second Street, where addresses will change as stated by the new system. When this neighborhood’s house numbers were originally assigned, they gave numbers with no space in between for new addresses to be included. As the area expanded down into the Slough, homes were built below South Second Street with boardwalk access to those properties. These properties had to be assigned “1/2” numbers, such as “202 1/2” to allow them to have an address at the time. Now with the new E911 system, South Second Street and the houses down on the Slough will all have unique full-numbered addresses and no longer use the 1/2 numbers.  

The addresses will be finalized within the coming weeks, and Cordovans will have about three months to move forward with the change, which includes properly displaying these addresses at their home locations.  

A fine not to exceed $1,000 can be assessed if individuals do not comply.  

This story originally ran in the Feb. 9 issue of The Cordova Times.