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After Windstorm-Wildfire Events Pummel the State, Oregon’s Congressional Delegation Urges President Biden to Send Additional Federal Assistance

Feb 17, 2021
Press Release
Members to White House: “Oregon and her citizens are suffering under the strain of enormous calamity”

Today, in an effort led by Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04), whose committee has jurisdiction over FEMA, the entire Oregon congressional delegation called on President Biden to approve a February 9 request from Governor Kate Brown for additional federal funds to respond to recent windstorm-wildfire events. Damage from the unprecedented series of fires that began in September is estimated at nearly $1 billion, including more than $600 million for debris removal alone.

In the letter sent to the White House today, the Members wrote: “In considering this request, we ask you to take into account the size and scale of this disaster as well as the backdrop upon which this disaster fell. In the span of a few short days, fires burned an area the size of the State of Rhode Island. As a result, thousands of our fellow Oregonians have been displaced, and countless businesses have been lost.”

Oregon continues to respond and recover from four additional Presidentially-declared disasters since May 2019, including three counties covered under both Major Disaster Declarations from floods and the wildfire disaster this fall.

Read the full letter below and here.

 

February 16, 2021

 

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President,

 

We write to express our strong support for the February 9, 2021 letter sent to your office by Oregon Governor Kate Brown requesting an increased Federal cost share for emergency work responding to windstorm-wildfire events known as major disaster FEMA-DR 4562 OR.

 

Based on ongoing Preliminary Damage Assessments, the State of Oregon predicts that debris removal alone will cost in excess of $622 million and total disaster costs will exceed $1 billion. Given the large areas devastated by the unprecedented series of fires that began in September and inordinately high costs of clean-up and recovery, we support the State’s request for this assistance to be granted at increased Federal share. Such a cost share adjustment is warranted by previous Agency determinations which have authorized a 100% Federal share in 22 disasters under the previous Administration and a minimum 90% federal share in 23 additional disasters, including six wildfires. This is in keeping with FEMA’s long record of approving an increased cost share in the face of serious disasters, authorizing a minimum 90% federal share in disasters on 173 occasions since 2004, 98 of which received a 100% federal share.

 

In considering this request, we ask you to take into account the size and scale of this disaster as well as the backdrop upon which this disaster fell. In the span of a few short days, fires burned an area the size of the State of Rhode Island. As a result, thousands of our fellow Oregonians have been displaced, and countless businesses have been lost. Furthermore, the State and local governments continue to respond to and recover from four additional Presidentially-declared disasters since May 2019, including three counties which are covered under both Major Disaster Declarations from floods and the wildfire disaster this fall.

 

Oregon and her citizens are suffering under the strain of enormous calamity. State and local officials are working valiantly with their Federal government partners to respond and recover as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are grateful for this partnership and respectfully request you further extend that partnership by increasing the Federal share for this disaster.

 

Thank you,

 

                                                                                     

Peter A. DeFazio                                                                    Ron Wyden                                                         

Member of Congress                                                            U.S. Senator

 

                                         

Jeffrey A. Merkley                                                                 Earl Blumenauer

U.S. Senator                                                                             Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                          

 

 

 

Kurt Schrader                                                                          Suzanne Bonamici

Member of Congress                                                            Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

 

Cliff Bentz

Member of Congress

 

 

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