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Public Assistance Helps Oregon Communities after Disaster

Release date: 
January 23, 2008
Release Number: 

SALEM, Ore. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a helping hand to communities, county and state agencies, and some private nonprofit organizations with damage by the severe storms, wind, mudslides, landslides and flooding of Dec 1-17, 2007.

Disasters threaten more than homes. Bridges, highways, public buildings, parks and water treatment plants can be damaged or destroyed. Tons of debris can be left to remove; communications and emergency services can be disrupted.

"By helping local and state governments and looking for ways to reduce future damages, federal disaster assistance has an impact on every individual in those communities," said Glen R. Sachtleben, federal coordinating officer.

Under the presidential disaster declaration of December 8, 2007, public assistance and hazard mitigation are available to local governments in nine Oregon counties.? Hazard Mitigation is available state-wide. ?Almost all communities and state agencies suffering damage have filed notices of interest to initiate a disaster claim.

Oregon Emergency Management administers the public assistance program and has briefed local officials on the assistance available and how to apply. Community officials who wish to file a notice of interest may contact their local emergency manager to receive information about the process.

Federal, state and local teams have already started to inspect all disaster-related damage, examine expenses identified by the state or local representatives, and prepare reports that outline the scope of repair work needed and the estimated restoration cost.

For approved projects, FEMA will pay 75 percent of the cost. These projects typically include debris removal, emergency services related to the flooding, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities. The latter category includes schools, libraries and other public buildings, repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, utilities and recreational facilities.

Nonprofit organizations may qualify for assistance to restore certain types of facilities that include educational, utility, emergency, medical, custodial care and other facilities that provide essential government types of services.

Hazard mitigation, another assistance program, identifies areas where local or state governments can prevent or reduce damages in future flooding. This mitigation may take the form of flood-proofing, moving structures, lining ditches, building bigger culverts, and redesigning bridges to withstand greater flows.

State and local governments work together to search out projects where hazard mitigation programs can be most useful, cost effective and have the greatest impact. All the projects submitted are reviewed by an interagency steering committee made up of representatives from state and federal agencies. The projects are administered by the state of Oregon. ?For projects chosen, 75 percent of the funding comes from FEMA's hazard mitigation program.

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.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:32