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Oregon delegation urges FEMA to fully cover cost of wildfire impacts

Burned out fire truck OR 22 near Detroit
A burned-out fire truck sits on state Highway 22 near Detroit.

Lawmakers say total disaster costs are expected to top $1 billion

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Oregon’s entire congressional delegation said Tuesday it is urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assume 100 percent of the cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures from the wildfires that ripped through the state this year.

The letter to FEMA from Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Reps. Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Greg Walden, Suzanne Bonamici and Kurt Schrader comes in support of a similar state cost-share request.

“As you saw when you toured the state with us earlier this year, wildfires have utterly decimated communities across Oregon,” the lawmakers wrote.  “Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Emergency Management predict that total disaster costs will ultimately total more than $1 billion — a burden the state will be unable to shoulder in light of ongoing pandemic-related responses.” 

The letter noted the damage assessment from the 2020 fire season in Oregon now exceeds the regulatory threshold for FEMA to support an increased federal cost share from 75 percent to 100 percent, and also that FEMA has regularly increased its cost share in past disasters. 

“FEMA has authorized 90% cost share in more than 20 disasters since January 2017, including wildfires, and 100% cost share in 22 disasters during the same period,” the lawmakers wrote.  “Indeed, the administration recently amended the Major Disaster Declaration for California to authorize 100% percent cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures.”

A copy of the full letter is here.

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1 Comment

  1. Freeeee money. If the state would just balance their budget. I hope the feds say no just because oregon is a sanctuary state. How many times does our state legislation need to spit in the face of the fed and then go begging for money before the fed just says no?
    Our governor essentially tied the hands and provide zero assistance during the riots while they were there to protect federal properties.

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