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Lawmakers visit Southern Oregon fire devastation areas

Oregon lawmakers visit Southern Oregon to tour Almeda Fire damage.

Posted: Sep 12, 2020 11:46 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 10:51 AM

PHOENIX, Ore. – Today Senators Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley and Representative Greg Walden toured the destruction caused by the Almeda Fire and the evacuation location at the Jackson County Expo.

The congressmen took time to meet with local officials that are responding to the fire and the following investigations as well as the organizers at the Expo to get an idea of what kind of support Southern Oregon needs.

“I’ve visited a number of fires before and a number of flood zones, and I thought I’d seen the worst cases I could see; it’s absolutely nothing like what we’ve witnessed here in Oregon,” said Senator Jeff Merkley, after touring the Almeda Fire burn area.

“What we just saw were Oregon communities that have lost everything,” said Senator Ron Wyden.

Today lawmakers told NewsWatch 12 that aid from FEMA is on its way.

“They are going to be bringing trucks of essential supplies on Monday,” said Sen. Wyden.

Those trucks will provide additional help for search and rescue efforts and food aid.

The mobilization of further resources starts at the state level.

“It is up to the Governor to ask for this next declaration; we anticipate that happening Tuesday. That actually requires presidential authority and approval; we anticipate that to happen,” said Representative Greg Walden.

Both Senators and Representative Walden stressed the gaps in housing and state presence in Southern Oregon.

“We’ve got people who are sleeping in parking lots, and that is just unacceptable in Oregon, so the three of us are going to stay at it until people get those housing vouchers,” said Sen. Wyden.

We also heard the need from the state to maybe have a bigger presence down here and have a command site and a point of contact and we’ll be working on that as well, with the Governor’s office,” said Rep. Walden.

The congressmen say they’ve been in contact with the Governor’s office and highlighted the reason an additional declaration might take a few days.

“We may take a day or so to pull all that information together because it really does need to be documented. Given the amount of assistance that we’re going to need, we want to make sure we get it right and get it right the first time so they don’t say, ‘Oh, it’s not clear enough,’ and send it back,” said Sen. Wyden.

The congressmen were quick to confirm that funding is there for adequate fire response, pointing to the new fire policy enacted at the federal level and in effect for the first time this year.

“A lack of money isn’t going to be the problem from the federal government,” said Rep. Walden, “At the end of the day, whatever FEMA sends comes to the state and then the state distributes it.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 44388

Reported Deaths: 675
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9653167
Washington608278
Marion6068109
Umatilla346145
Clackamas330966
Lane250127
Malheur196738
Jackson18657
Deschutes120913
Yamhill102515
Linn86316
Polk67515
Jefferson60910
Morrow5547
Lincoln51913
Union4872
Benton4646
Klamath4313
Douglas3738
Wasco35216
Hood River2861
Columbia2751
Josephine2733
Coos2621
Clatsop2510
Baker1433
Crook1162
Tillamook750
Curry581
Wallowa512
Lake470
Harney370
Sherman220
Gilliam120
Grant120
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 928028

Reported Deaths: 17618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3063277056
Riverside680501319
San Bernardino643671074
Orange597181475
San Diego56369888
Kern34154422
Fresno31321443
Sacramento26018500
Santa Clara24867406
Alameda23775463
San Joaquin21994492
Contra Costa18981246
Stanislaus17872401
Tulare17800292
Ventura14486166
Imperial13038338
San Francisco12320147
Monterey1161695
San Mateo11341161
Santa Barbara9919126
Sonoma9646136
Merced9623155
Kings850283
Solano763476
Marin7121127
Madera509476
Placer435359
San Luis Obispo426532
Yolo326660
Butte314353
Santa Cruz286125
Shasta204631
Napa200916
Sutter189712
San Benito146115
El Dorado13804
Yuba134610
Mendocino115621
Tehama9259
Lassen7721
Lake70417
Glenn6823
Nevada6358
Humboldt57110
Colusa5556
Calaveras34721
Amador33816
Tuolumne2886
Inyo24115
Siskiyou2210
Mono1822
Del Norte1811
Mariposa812
Plumas790
Modoc480
Trinity280
Alpine80
Sierra60
Unassigned00
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