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.

Cases: 397421

Reported Deaths: 5299
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61160856
Washington42725408
Marion40378520
Clackamas33323391
Lane30531364
Jackson25267363
Deschutes24034198
Umatilla15178184
Linn15004184
Douglas13635295
Josephine10388249
Yamhill9916145
Klamath9144153
Polk8384103
Benton624440
Malheur594093
Coos5854109
Columbia442156
Jefferson427268
Lincoln369155
Crook345558
Union341857
Wasco320747
Clatsop265835
Baker223133
Tillamook220646
Hood River218637
Morrow198925
Curry194639
Harney121933
Grant109216
Lake106418
Wallowa76513
Sherman1953
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5128725

Reported Deaths: 74953
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153845127262
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3370455783
Sacramento1699162462
Kern1590231841
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241514
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus923321436
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511315
Shasta26353465
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793980
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163818
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
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