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Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio Urges Governor Brown to Quickly Develop Shelter Plan for Oregonians Displaced by Wildfires

Sep 22, 2020
Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown urging her to quickly develop a shelter plan for the thousands of Oregonians who have been displaced by wildfires.

As Chair of the Committee with jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), DeFazio also offered his expertise and assistance in working with federal agencies to help establish shelter plans.

In the letter, DeFazio wrote, “With the number of structures lost due to the fires, this will be a long and slow recovery for hundreds, if not thousands, of Oregonians. The immediate months will be even more challenging, with the rainy season and likely mudslides, the approach of winter and the holidays, all compounded by the ongoing pandemic. It is incumbent that the State develops a clear and coordinated plan as quickly as possible to keep survivors reliably sheltered and as close to their communities as possible.”

Late last week, hundreds of Oregonians in the 4th district were given less than 24 hours’ notice they would need to leave hotel rooms provided by the American Red Cross, causing panic and uncertainty. DeFazio’s staff immediately intervened with the American Red Cross, Travel Lane County, and other community leaders to ensure these individuals would be sheltered at Red Cross-provided hotel rooms through October 2nd.  Given the approaching deadline, DeFazio urged Governor Brown to expedite housing plans and to be creative and flexible in finding solutions to this crisis.

DeFazio continued, “I stand at the ready to assist in facilitating conversations with local leaders as well as using my influence with FEMA and other Federal partners to eliminate red tape. Getting Oregonians into stable and secure housing as we enter the winter months is my top priority and I will do everything in my power to assist in that effort.”

For a PDF version of the letter, click here.