Emergency Assistance

Jeff is committed to helping Oregonians resolve their problems, whether it be an individual’s personal case or a whole town’s emergency.

In July of 2018, the city of Willamina, Oregon encountered problems when a gravel bar at their water intake source shifted, completely covering one of their water intake screens. The city worried that this would result in the inability to provide potable water to their residents. Willamina already endured silt problems in their water, yet had been waiting to find funding to move the intake which would fix this issue. However, the shifted gravel bar escalated the situation to an emergency, demanding immediate action to move the water intake.

Willamina’s city manager sought help from USDA Rural Development immediately to find funding and applied for a permit through the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to do the in-water work. Jeff’s team found out in early September that the permit had been denied. USACE recognized the Willamina Creek as a spawning and rearing habitat for winter steelhead and thus an area to be protected. Since the migrating gravel bar had affected the Willamina intake flows for years, this new issue did not meet the criteria for an urgent/emergency situation, according to standard USACE guidelines.

Jeff’s team immediately contacted the Army Corps of Engineers and explained the details and specifics of this situation, urging them to reconsider.  A few weeks later, Willamina’s city manager notified Jeff’s office that the permit had been reconsidered and this time, approved! The city manager thanked Jeff and his team for their advocacy on behalf of the city of Willamina.