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Gov. Brown announces stopgap funding for Pendleton levee repair

Umatilla River flooding rescue Pendleton Fire 2-6
Pendleton Fire & Ambulance Dept.
Crews from Pendleton and Umatilla Tribal agencies rescue a homeless man from an island in the Umatilla River on Thursday, Feb. 6.

Says need in flood-hit area can't wait for lawmakers to return

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday $1.8 million in stopgap funding for levee repairs in Pendleton through an emergency no-interest, no-payment, medium-term loan from a state agency's special public works fund. 

The special public works fund is managed by Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency. The loan will be made to the City of Pendleton with no interest and no repayment expectations. Business Oregon will request the Legislature to authorize repayment of the loan using General Fund dollars when lawmakers reconvene to consider agency budget requests.

Brown said the $1.8 million will enable critical repairs to begin on the Pendleton levee before the spring snowmelt begins and puts the already flood-devastated community at further risk of damage and flooding in the warmer months to come.

The project is one of several the Governor outlined last week in a total $11.65M recovery package proposal, but is the only one eligible for this type of short-term borrowing. The state's General Fund or Lottery dollars must be used for the remaining $9.85M for housing and business support in the package; use of General Fund or Lottery dollars constitutionally requires legislative approval.

"I have been clear since the flooding happened that I am dedicated to making sure the people of the Umatilla Basin receive much-needed recovery support from the state, and that it be made available as quickly as possible," Brown said.

" This levee funding is a stopgap measure to make sure that residents in the Umatilla Basin don't have to worry that the coming spring will add insult to injury," said Governor Brown.

"That commitment doesn't change with Republican lawmakers' decision to walk away from their jobs and from the needs of this community, which is struggling to move forward after a devastating disaster. When legislators deny quorum and shut down government, it puts critical state funding in jeopardy — and not just for flooding relief. This is important work; Oregonians are counting on us." 

Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in three Oregon counties after severe flooding occurred following unusual rain and snowmelt, which caused the damage to the Pendleton levee.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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