WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster funds have been made available for 26 Oregon counties to supplement state and local response and recovery costs for a series of severe winter storms that began late last December.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush following a review of the agency’s analysis of the state’s request for federal aid.
Under the declaration, Brown said the state and affected local governments are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, emergency services, and the repair or replacement of public facilities damaged by the storms that occurred over the period of December 26, 2003 through January 14, 2004.
The 26 counties designated eligible for the assistance by Brown following the declaration include Baker, Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jefferson, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco and Yamhill.
Brown said the declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
William M. Lokey of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Lokey said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.