SALEM, Ore. — Oregon counties left reeling after a series of major winter storms will receive federal assistance to help with recovery efforts, according to a statement from Governor Kate Brown on Thursday. The disaster declaration covers Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jefferson and Lane counties.
A series of winter storms hit western Oregon between February 23 and 26, causing widespread power outages, landslides, flooding and roadways blocked by felled trees.
"Heavy snow knocked down trees or tree limbs into spans of power lines and encased lines with snow and ice, causing major power outages and damaging transportation routes," the Governor's office said. "Major roadways were impacted due to landslides, high water, and fallen trees including the closure of Highway 58 that left many residents of the city of Oakridge cut off from critical services and without power for days, or even weeks in some cases."
Curry County continues to suffer after a large section of Highway 101 between Brookings and Gold Beach buckled and slid as a saturated hillside shifted. Douglas County declared a state of emergency on February 27 after the storms knocked out power for large swaths of the county.
All told, those storms wrought more than $30 million in damages, according to a Preliminary Damage Assessment by the Office of Emergency Management and FEMA. Officials conducted that assessment between April 8 and 12.
"This process involved coordinating with local emergency managers, public works departments, and utilities to document damages and costs associated with the repair of critical infrastructure, power, and roadways," the Governor's office said. "The most severe impacts were damages to public utilities, roads, culverts, debris removal and emergency protective measures."
The disaster declaration means that federal funding will be available for the state, local governments, and some non-profit organizations for emergency work, repair and replacement damaged by the winter storms in those five counties.