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Oregon Congressional Delegation Calls For Expedited Federal Disaster Declaration

February 26, 2012
Press Release

Today, the entire Oregon congressional delegation wrote to request that President Obama expedite approval of a federal disaster declaration to help communities recover from damage inflicted by severe winter storms that began on January 17.

The declaration was first requested in a February 16 letter from Governor John Kitzhaber to President Obama. That letter was followed up by today’s bipartisan letter to the President.

“Throughout the course of the storm, our communities endured landslides, evacuations, and perilous conditions,” the delegation wrote. “Over 900 Oregon families had homes affected by flooding. Individual assistance for the five counties most severely impacted will be crucial in rebuilding our communities.”

The storm damaged local facilities, roads and general infrastructure, including damage to the federal highway system. If approved, Oregon’s eligible damages stand at approximately $4 million.


The full letter follows below:


February 17, 2012


The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20050

Dear Mr. President:

We respectfully ask that you expedite approval of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s request for a federal disaster declaration for the State of Oregon.  Governor Kitzhaber’s letter, dated February 16, 2012, asks you to declare a major disaster for the State of Oregon as a result of a severe winter storm.  

Beginning January 17, 2012, twelve counties were severely impacted by a winter storm.  The snow, ice, wind, and torrential rain damaged local facilities, roads, and general infrastructure.  The rainfall caused thirteen rivers to exceed flood stage in the Willamette Valley, triggering landslides and flooding.  The federal highway system suffered damage throughout Oregon.  Swift moving flood waters also contributed to two deaths in Linn County.

Throughout the course of the storm, our communities endured landslides, evacuations, and perilous conditions.  Over 900 Oregon families had homes affected by flooding.  Individual assistance for the five counties most severely impacted will be crucial in rebuilding our communities.  Our local and state governments worked diligently to provide relief to many of our residents endangered by this storm.  The eligible damages are approximately $4,081,975.

Thank you considering our request.  Oregon has made tremendous efforts to recover from the storm and provide relief to our hard-hit local communities, but we need your assistance.  

Sincerely,

Senator Jeff Merkley
Senator Ron Wyden
Representative Earl Blumenauer
Representative Suzanne Bonamici
Representative Peter Defazio
Representative Kurt Schrader