Wildfire ash and debris cleanup monitoring contract awarded

SALEM – Cleanup of ash and debris from Oregon’s Labor Day wildfires will be overseen by CDR Maguire Emergency Management, a national consultant with extensive experience on FEMA reimbursable projects. The Oregon Debris Management Task Force awarded the $75.5 million contract on Thursday based on the company’s qualifications and approach to the project.

The monitoring oversight contract is the first of the debris management cleanup contracts to be awarded under Step 2 of Oregon wildfire cleanup. The hazardous tree removal contract bids have been received and will be awarded soon. The ash and debris removal contract request for proposal is currently in the bidding process.

CDR Maguire Emergency Management will work with the ash and debris removal contractors to ensure the project mission to safely clear the ash and debris as quickly as possible, leaving Oregonians with a clean site so they can rebuild. Monitoring oversight is required by FEMA to control costs, reduce waste, and help eliminate fraud. The monitoring oversight contractor will verify work to be done, its progress, and its completion, ensuring that the needs of the property owner are met, regulations complied with, and paperwork completed. In short, they make sure that the “i is dotted and the t is crossed” in the complicated process of cleanup and recovery.

Doing it right makes the state of Oregon eligible to receive as much reimbursement as possible from FEMA for cleanup work. The state is committed to covering ash and debris cleanup costs, regardless of whether or not it is reimbursable by FEMA, to help people recover from the wildfires, protect the health and safety of those in the area, and protect the environment.

The Debris Management Task Force contracts are designed to complete cleanup in a way that:

  • Promotes an environment that supports entrepreneurship and small business growth.
  • Expands business development to include non-traded sector companies and organizations.
  • Connects rural communities to urban markets through targeted infrastructure investments.
  • Promotes mentoring for DBE, MBE, WBE, ESB and SDV firms for COBID certified and non-certified firms in all facets of contracting from contract interpretation to means and methods to payroll to invoicing and payment, among other related business needs.
  • Supports to the extent possible local community needs and values.

The project’s work is complex and requires strict adherence to local, state and federal requirements to ensure safe removal hazards to the public and roadways. The goal is to deliver the project through a highly collaborative team that monitors removal of hazardous debris in strict compliance with FEMA requirements to ensure FEMA reimbursement. Project goals include: 

  • Effective management of hazard tree and debris monitoring services.
  • Solution-oriented approach to support partnerships with jurisdictional and regulatory bodies, as well as other key public stakeholders.
  • Maximizing a diverse workforce by create subcontracting opportunities.
  • Revitalize Oregon’s economy.
  • Create and sustain a safety culture that places a high level of importance on safety beliefs, values and attitudes that result in a positive safety culture and improved organizational performance.

Wildfire cleanup is a two-step process.

  • Step 1 is removal of household hazardous waste, which is dangerous to people, communities and the environment. This work is nearly completed in eight fire-impacted counties. Progress on Step 1 efforts can be viewed on EPA’s 2020 Oregon Fires Recovery website.
  • Step 2 is ash and debris cleanup, as well as additional hazardous tree removal. The state is currently hiring contractors to carry out this work, scheduled to begin in December 2020. The task force is working closely with local governments to determine cleanup priorities for each area. Given factors such as weather impacts, property access limitations and the large area to be covered, Step 2 is estimated to take approximately 6 to 18 months to complete statewide. As the state task force gets contractors on board, more clarity on timing will be provided.

The 2020 September wildfires were the largest and most expensive disaster in Oregon’s history. Nine Oregonians lost their lives, more than 1 million acres burned and over 5,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. The state has transitioned from immediate fire response to statewide recovery.

FEMA will reimburse the state for a portion of eligible costs. The State of Oregon will fund the remaining costs, regardless of FEMA reimbursement. Initial estimates put the debris cleanup tally at over $600 million, including $326 million for ash and debris removal and $295 million to remove damaged trees. This estimate is preliminary and is likely to change.

Wildfire cleanup webpage: https://wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup

Wildfire debris cleanup hotline: 503-934-1700