SALEM, Ore. -- The severe storms, wind, mudslides, landslides and flooding that swept through Oregon Dec. 1-17, 2007, left a path of destruction. Oregonians will long remember the swirling floodwaters, damaged homes and tangled debris left in the wake of the storms.
In addition to homes and personal property destroyed, the storms inflicted heavy damage on schools, public buildings and left piles of debris to be cleaned up. The payment for rebuilding damages to public property falls into a separate category of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid called Public Assistance.
"There was significant damage to public buildings and massive amounts of debris to be cleared," said Glen R. Sachtleben, federal coordinating officer for the December storms. "We are working with the State of Oregon to make certain the entire community recovers from these devastating storms," he added.
Some communities were especially hard hit, with damage to schools, public buildings, roads and bridges.
The storms also battered public infrastructure throughout Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Lincoln, Polk, Tillamook, Yamhill, and Washington Counties, which were all designated as eligible to apply for aid from FEMA Public Assistance Grants.
"We are working closely with FEMA as well as cities and counties in the devastated area to make certain our infrastructure losses are repaired in a timely manner," said Abby Kershaw, Oregon state coordinating officer.
Eligible expenses may include debris removal, emergency protective measures and repair of damage to public utilities, public buildings, public recreational and other public facilities.
Once eligible losses are quantified and any amounts from insurance payments are subtracted, federal grants pay 75 percent of the rebuilding or reconstruction costs and the applicant pays 25 percent.
The Public Assistance Grant Program is one way federal assistance gets to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations. Public Assistance grants allow public entities to respond to disasters, to recover from their impact and to mitigate impact from future disasters.
The ultimate purpose of FEMA Public Assistance grants is to help a community and all its citizens recover from devastating natural disasters, by helping local and state governments repair and rebuild roads, bridges and other public facilities.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.