SALEM, Ore. -- Harney and Wheeler counties are now eligible to apply for state and federal disaster assistance to repair or replace public facilities damaged by the severe winter storms in late December and early January, disaster recovery officials announced today.
The addition of Harney and Wheeler brings the number of Oregon counties eligible for federal aid to 28. They are Baker, Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Harney, Hood River, Jefferson, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, Wheeler and Yamhill Counties.
“This latest disaster designation means that governmental entities in these counties can apply for help with eligible costs associated with debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities,” said Bill Lokey, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Disaster assistance may also be provided to repair, restore or replace facilities owned by certain private, nonprofit organizations that operate and maintain educational, utility, emergency, medical, custodial care or other essential governmental service facilities.
Oregon State Coordinating Officer Abby Kershaw added, “The first step toward providing assistance to communities for repairing damaged public infrastructure is for community officials to submit a Request for Public Assistance to Oregon Emergency Management”.
The Request for Public Assistance form can be downloaded from OEM's website, www.osp.state.or.us/oem
Potential eligible applicants may contact 1-877- 365-1016 for information on how to proceed. The helpline is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Eligibility for work will not be determined over the phone.
According to FEMA officials, 75 percent of the costs of eligible approved projects will be reimbursed by federal funds. The State will determine how the non-Federal share will be split with the applicants.
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.