Wyden, Merkley, DeFazio, Walden Seek Federal Disaster Help for Six Oregon Counties

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio and Greg Walden and today sought federal disaster assistance for spring storms that hit Curry, Douglas, Grant, Linn, Umatilla and Wheeler counties over a two-week stretch in April.

The bipartisan letter from the Oregon lawmakers to the White House comes in support of Gov. Kate Brown’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration for those counties’ losses from heavy rain, snow melt, flooding, landslides and mudslides between April 6 and 21.

“Heavy, and in some areas unprecedented, rainfall occurred over the state of Oregon during this period,” wrote Wyden, Merkley, DeFazio and Walden. “These persistent and heavy rains combined with snowmelt runoff from winter storms in February 2019, set the stage for flooding, landslides and mudslides that closed major highways, carried debris onto roadways, and damaged bridges and other public infrastructure.”

The lawmakers noted that that eligible damages in the six counties qualifying for public assistance total more than $8.2 million, a particular challenge for smaller rural communities.  In Wheeler County, public damage levels added up to more than $700 per person.

A federal disaster declaration allows local governments, homeowners, and businesses to be eligible for loans, insurance relief, and other assistance.

A copy of the letter is available here.

A web version of this release is available here.