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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 007-03150; City of Astoria
PW ID# Project Worksheets 177, 178, and 179; Commercial Street and First Street
July 22, 2008
State Coordinating Officer
State of Oregon Office of Emergency Management
3223 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
Re: Second AppealCity of Astoria, PA ID 007-03150, Commercial Street and First Street
FEMA-1672-DR-OR, Project Worksheets (PW) 177, 178, and 179
Dear Ms. Kershaw:
This letter is in response to your letter dated January 9, 2008, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the City of Astoria (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agencys (FEMA) denial of $2,530,000 to fund permanent repairs to damaged roadways and utilities, as well as the restoration of the areas supporting integral ground mass.
Heavy storms from November 5, 2006, through November 8, 2006, caused extensive flooding in Astoria, Oregon. On January 6, 2007, the Applicant observed newly formed cracks, one inch in width, in the pavement along First Street near the intersection of Commercial Street. The cracks continued to widen and by mid-March, First Street had sustained 300 linear feet (LF) of damage and fallen approximately 10 feet, forming a high-back scarp along its northern intersection with Duane Street. Commercial Street also sustained 480 LF of damage. The landslide area is bounded by Bond Street on the north, Hume Avenue on the west, and Duane Street and First Street on the southeast. The Applicant installed temporary above-ground water and sewage lines to bypass the damaged roads. Sandbags and surface piping were installed to divert water to alternative catch basins. The Applicant also constructed temporary bypass and emergency access roads for residences in the vicinity of First Street. On April 15, 2007, FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 175 for $196,243 to reimburse the Applicant for these emergency protective measures. The Applicant requested additional funding for permanent repairs.
FEMA prepared PW 177 for repairs to utilities along Bond Street near Hume Avenue, and PWs 178 and 179 for roadway and utility repairs along First Street and Commercial Street. FEMA later determined that the reported damages were the result of a reactivated historic landslide and concluded that the soil was not stable prior to the declared disaster. Pursuant to Response and Recovery Policy 9524.2, Landslide Policy Relating to Public Facilities
, damage to facilities in areas that are unstable due to an identified, pre-existing condition is only eligible for assistance
from FEMA once the Applicant has stabilized the site at its own expense. Therefore, FEMA denied funding for PWs 177, 178, and 179.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal on June 28, 2007. The Applicant maintained that the landslide was a direct result of the declared disaster. The Applicant also noted that FEMA approved PW 175 for emergency protective measures because these damages were directly caused by the declared disaster. In addition, the Applicant submitted a geotechnical analysis from Landslide Technology that stated that the soil was not unstable prior to the disaster. However, the Regional Administrator denied the Applicants appeal on September 7, 2007, because the facilities are located in an area with a history of slope instability. This area experienced a similar landslide in 1954, which according to Landslide Technologys analysis, weakened the soil to its residual strength level.
The Applicant submitted its second appeal on November 9, 2007, and supplemented its appeal on December 31, 2007, with a second geotechnical analysis provided by Landslide Technology. This analysis explains that residual strength is defined as the lowest strength a given soil can reach without failing. According to Landslide Technology, residual strength is not evidence of soil instability. The analysis also notes that the area had been stable during the 53-year interval from 1954 to 2007. Moreover, both landslides were the result of exceptionally heavy rainfall that substantially increased groundwater levels. However, FEMA Response and Recovery Policy 9524.2, Landslide Policy Relating to Public Facilities
, requires a finding of no pre-disaster instability in order for restoration of the landslide area to be eligible.
I have reviewed all information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Regional Administrators decision in the first appeal is consistent with Public Assistance Program regulations and policies. Therefore, I am denying the Applicants second appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination constitutes the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206.
Carlos J. Castillo
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: Susan K. Reinertson
FEMA Region X