May 1, 2019 4:00 a.m.
Oregon’s entire Congressional delegation is seeking a federal disaster declaration for damages in the state caused by the late February storm that brought snow, freezing rain, floods and landslides.
Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and House members Peter DeFazio, Greg Walden, Kurt Schrader, Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer estimated in their letter to the White House that especially hard-hit Douglas, Coos, Curry, Lane and Jefferson counties are eligible for more than $30 million in public assistance for the damage they incurred.
The Oregon lawmakers’ letter came in support of Governor Kate Brown’s request for a disaster declaration as well as eligibility for the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for the storm.
The letter said the storm contributed to road closures, structural losses, extended periods of loss of power and heat, and the needs for emergency services for the most vulnerable Oregonians. It noted that communities like Elkton in Douglas County, and Oakridge in Lane County, were cut off from power and outside assistance during the storm. More than 100,000 Oregonians lost power, with its restoration taking several weeks to around a month. In addition, Highway 101 in Curry County continues to have only one lane open due to a landslide.
The release from the delegation said a federal disaster declaration sets in motion the ability of local governments, homeowners, and businesses to be eligible for loans, insurance relief and other assistance.