Washington, D.C. – The entire Oregon congressional delegation today sought a federal disaster declaration for damages in the state caused by a late February storm that brought snow, freezing rain, floods and landslides.
U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Greg Walden, Suzanne Bonamici and Kurt Schrader estimated in their bipartisan letter to the White House that especially hard-hit Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jefferson and Lane counties are eligible for more than $30 million in public assistance damages.
The Oregon lawmakers’ letter came in support of Gov. Kate Brown’s request for a disaster declaration as well as eligibility for the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for a winter storm from Feb. 23-26.
“This winter’s severe winter storm brought in cold Arctic air and included heavy wet snows, freezing rain, heavy rains, flooding, and numerous landslides, which all contributed to road closures, structural losses, extended periods of loss of power and heat, and needs for emergency services for the most vulnerable Oregonians,” the Oregon delegation wrote.
Their letter noted that communities, such as Elkton in Douglas County and Oakridge in Lane County, were cut off from power and any outside assistance during the storm. More than 100,000 Oregonians lost power, with restoration of power often taking several weeks to nearly a month. Additionally, Hwy 101 in Curry County continues to have only one lane open due to a landslide.
A federal disaster declaration sets in motion the ability for local governments, homeowners, and businesses to be eligible for loans, insurance relief, and other assistance.
Text of the letter is available here.
A web version of this release is available here.