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Oregon delegation seeks federal disaster declaration for state

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Reps. Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden in a letter Wednesday to the White House supported Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s request for a major disaster declaration for the entire state as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oregon lawmakers said in their bipartisan letter that in addition to the serious and growing health toll from the virus, that the virus’ rapid spread has generated massive and unprecedented disruptions -- shuttering schools and closing businesses. They also noted that Governor Brown fully activated Oregon’s Emergency Coordination Center in early March and has since ordered Oregonians to stay home and non-essential businesses to cease operations. 

“We have heard from rural health clinics, hospitals, and providers who are having to lay off employees due to reduced patient care and declining revenues. We have heard from heroic front line health care workers stressed about the lack of test kits and personal protective equipment,” the lawmakers wrote. “We have heard from small business owners suffering financially and wondering how to put food on the table.  We have heard from volunteers in rural fire and ambulance districts who must choose whether to self-quarantine or continue providing critical public safety services to their communities. 

“Oregon is a resilient and forward-thinking state and Oregonians are working hard to secure shelter for people who are homeless and medical care for those who need it,” they wrote. “But no state will be able to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic alone, which is why we urge you to approve Governor Brown’s full request for assistance.”

A copy of the entire letter is below.

Donald J. Trump

The President

The White House

600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write in support of Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s request for a major disaster declaration for the entire state of Oregon resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Oregon incident period for the disaster began on January 21, 2020, and is continuing.  The governor is requesting Individual Assistance for residents of Oregon’s 36 counties and nine federally-recognized tribes.

The rapid spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has caused massive disruption to American life, shuttering schools and closing businesses on an unprecedented scale.  Governor Brown fully activated Oregon’s Emergency Coordination Center in early March and has since ordered Oregonians to stay home and non-essential businesses to cease operations.  The state is reporting more than 260 cases of COVID-19, as of this writing, and eight deaths.  These numbers are only projected to increase in the coming weeks and months. 

To help with ongoing state efforts, Governor Brown has requested the full suite of Individual Assistance programs.  These include Individuals and Households Assistance, Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training, Disaster Care Management, Disaster Legal Services, and Disaster Unemployment Assistance.  The governor has also requested the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program statewide.

These Individual Assistance programs will bring levels of great relief to our community members struggling with the pandemic’s physical and emotional toll.  We have heard from rural health clinics, hospitals, and providers who are having to lay off employees due to reduced patient care and declining revenues.  We have heard from heroic frontline health care workers stressed about the lack of test kits and personal protective equipment.  We have heard from small business owners suffering financially and wondering how to put food on the table.  We have heard from volunteers in rural fire and ambulance districts who must choose whether to self-quarantine or continuing providing critical public safety services to their communities. 

Oregon is a resilient and forward-thinking state and Oregonians are working hard to secure shelter for people who are homeless and medical care for those who need it.  But no state will be able to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic alone, which is why we urge you to approve Governor Brown’s full request for assistance.  We thank you in advance for your expedited review of this declaration request and look forward to working with you in support of Oregon’s 36 counties and 9 federally recognized tribes. 

                                                            Sincerely,

Coronavirus / Oregon-Northwest

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Comments

3 Comments

  1. “the virus’ rapid spread has generated massive and unprecedented disruptions — shuttering schools and closing businesses”

    Lets be clear- the Wuhan Virus from China did not sign those Executive Orders- Kate Brown did- and she needs to take full accountability for sending the state’s economy into the dark ages !

    1. Lets be even clearer on this matter.
      The Federal Government has already approved a stimulus package that will be distributed an an individual basis. Brown just wants the funds to be released to her. That’s not going to happen. This issue has already been handled at the Federal level. Keep you mits off our funds Brown. You have already proved to the Oregon people that you are about nothing but raising taxes on the Oregon people. DO NOT PRETEND YOU CARE ABOUT THE OREGON PEOPLE!

  2. 23 counties do not have a single case, and nearly all of the counties have NOT requested any help, and the state’s resources are NOT depleted. Will this media question them on their request?

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