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Oregon politicians spar as walkout delays recovery funds for areas hit by flooding

The current gridlock in the legislature caused by a Republican walkout in defiance of cap-and-trade has left most of an $11 million recovery package in limbo.

Posted: Feb 26, 2020 11:59 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2020 5:07 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Recovery funding for areas of northeastern Oregon hit hard by flooding earlier this month has now become a charged political issue as it languishes in the gridlocked state legislature.

Republican lawmakers shunned the capitol this week to deny a vote on the divisive cap-and-trade bill, but the act of protest has likewise ground all other legislative business to a halt.

Among the bills now stalled in the legislature is an $11.65 million recovery funding proposal for the Umatilla Basin as people continue to sift through the aftermath of widespread flooding.

On Wednesday, Governor Kate Brown announced that the state had secured a $1.8 million loan for the town of Pendleton in lieu of the funding package — a "no-interest, no-payment, medium-term loan" borrowed from Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency.

"This levee funding is a stopgap measure to make sure that residents in the Umatilla Basin don't have to worry that the coming spring will add insult to injury," said Governor Brown.


RELATED: Oregon House Republicans join senators in boycotting the legislature


The Governor's office said that this contribution was the only part of the more than $11 million funding package that could be eligible for a short-term loan, saying that everything else would require approval from lawmakers.

Governor Brown took a swipe at Republicans over the funding, saying that they had walked away from their jobs and from the needs of the Umatilla Basin community.

"When legislators deny quorum and shut down government, it puts critical state funding in jeopardy — and not just for flooding relief. This is important work; Oregonians are counting on us," Brown said.

Republicans were quick to fire back, accusing Brown of "backtracking" from previous statements that she could not send recovery funding to the Umatilla Basin without legislative approval.

“I’m not sure why the Governor withheld this funding for two weeks. But no matter what the politics are in the building, it’s the right thing to do,” said Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger, R-Grants Pass.

Funds to pay off the loan to Pendleton will have to be approved by lawmakers when they return to conducting business.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32581

Reported Deaths: 542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7113137
Marion465894
Washington449760
Umatilla296241
Clackamas239861
Malheur161723
Lane118517
Jackson11395
Deschutes82512
Yamhill75713
Jefferson5298
Polk52915
Linn51913
Morrow4986
Lincoln48113
Union4462
Benton3106
Wasco2893
Klamath2802
Hood River2510
Douglas2274
Clatsop2040
Josephine1982
Columbia1651
Coos1560
Baker942
Crook621
Tillamook520
Lake320
Curry310
Wallowa301
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 807451

Reported Deaths: 15583
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2669886504
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino54386925
Orange530691214
San Diego46331775
Kern31865367
Fresno28199382
Sacramento22183406
Alameda21136406
Santa Clara21030311
San Joaquin20194441
Contra Costa16469205
Stanislaus16452351
Tulare15970263
Ventura12664150
Imperial11835317
San Francisco11076101
San Mateo9843150
Monterey980771
Santa Barbara9037113
Merced8872142
Kings763177
Sonoma7369122
Marin6694117
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer356745
San Luis Obispo354429
Butte281944
Yolo279555
Santa Cruz23309
Sutter170511
Napa166913
San Benito134011
Yuba11537
El Dorado11094
Mendocino90818
Shasta80617
Lassen7400
Glenn5783
Tehama5465
Lake53911
Nevada5337
Colusa5296
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31714
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
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Brookings
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Crater Lake
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Grants Pass
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Klamath Falls
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