Main Content

Oregon Public Assistance Operations Update: Severe Winter Storm and Flooding

Release date: 
February 17, 2017
Release Number: 

A tractor with a plow removes wooded debris in Oregon after a severe winter storm in December 2016.
A tractor with a plow removes wooded debris from storm damage in December 2016. Photo courtesy of Oregon Office of Emergency Management
Federal disaster assistance is available through FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program to help Oregon recover from the Dec. 14-17, 2016, severe winter storm and flooding.

Under the PA program, FEMA and the state of Oregon are providing supplemental financial assistance to state agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for their eligible response and recovery expenses.

Although funds go to government entities and nonprofits, the PA program is intended to benefit the entire community. The funds help reimburse applicants for protecting residents ahead of and during the storm, clearing vital roadways of downed trees and power lines, getting power restored to thousands of residents and repairing public infrastructure.

The disaster declaration also makes grants available to Oregon under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to promote community resilience and reduce vulnerability to future disasters.


  • Following Gov. Brown’s Jan. 13, 2017, request, President Trump issued a major disaster declaration on Jan. 25, 2017, for the December storm. Under the declaration, federal financial assistance may be available to eligible applicants in Josephine and Lane counties.
  • The Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM), with FEMA support, held well-attended Applicant Briefings in Eugene and Grants Pass on Feb. 14, 2017, to provide general overviews of the PA and HMGP programs and to answer questions.
  • Applicants must file a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) form with OEM within 30 days of the disaster declaration. Those affected by the storm have until Feb. 23, 2017, to file an RPA.
  • Upon submission of an RPA, a FEMA Public Assistance coordinator (PAC) arranges to meet individually with the applicant to focus on eligibility and requirements for documenting expenses.
    • These initial “kickoff meetings” are an important step in getting reimbursement grants to the applicants.
    • The PAC also discusses rebuilding structures to resist future damage, with the goal of ending the cycle of damage, repair and repeat damage.


  • FEMA Public Assistance dollars come to Oregon communities through a cost-sharing partnership. FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of their eligible costs, while the remaining 25 percent is the nonfederal share.
  • FEMA obligates federal PA funds directly to the state, which disburses the money to the local jurisdictions and organizations that incurred costs.


Two types of work are eligible for reimbursement under the PA program:

  • Emergency Work
    • Removal and disposal of eligible disaster-related debris
    • Emergency measures taken to protect lives and property ahead of and in the immediate aftermath of the storm and flooding
  • Permanent Repairs to:
  • Roads and bridges
  • Water control facilities
  • Public buildings and equipment
  • Public utilities
  • Parks, recreational and other facilities

To be eligible for FEMA reimbursement funding, applicants must complete their projects within the established timeframe (unless extenuating circumstances exist).

  • Emergency work must be completed within 6 months of the disaster declaration.
  • Permanent repair work must be completed within 18 months of the declaration.

Entities that may be eligible for Public Assistance as a result of this declaration include:

  • State governments and state agencies
  • Local governments (towns, cities, counties) and special districts
  • Certain private nonprofit organizations providing services, such as:
  • Critical services, including hospitals and other medical treatment; fire, police and other emergency services; power, water and sewer utilities; educational institutions; and custodial care facilities
  • Noncritical services, including libraries, museums and zoos, community centers, homeless shelters and rehabilitation facilities, and daycare centers

(Private nonprofits that provide essential services are eligible for Public Assistance for emergency work. For permanent repairs, they must apply to the U.S. Small Business Administration for a low-interest disaster loan before applying to FEMA.)

More information about the PA program is available at Additional information for the specific disaster, including funds obligated, is available at and

The mission of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management is to lead statewide efforts to develop and enhance preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation capabilities to protect the lives, property and environment of the whole community.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:01