SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon wildfire survivors will get to share their experiences during a virtual public hearing tonight.
The hearing is being hosted by Oregon Legislature Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery.
Last September’s fires destroyed more than 4,000 homes across the state.
Representative Pam Marsh says tonight’s goal is to find out where their efforts should be focused during the legislative session.
“Legislators need to hear the stories. We need to know how people suffered,” Marsh said. “We need to understand the barriers that they're dealing with and what they need as the community starts to rebuild. So, all of this will go into our considerations and our work in the next few months. Getting a really good understanding of what's happening on the ground is critical.”
One of the issues will come down to money, according to Marsh.
“Our ability to access dollars is limited,” Marsh said. “We know federal money will be coming in. We want to grab every federal dollar that we can and use our state money to leverage that, to get to the communities.”
Marsh says they’ll hold another public hearing next week before they meet with local elected officials and staff.
“We have some policy bills, but more of this is really about the budget. So, like what dollars can the state scrape together to invest here?” Marsh said. “Then, I expect our committee to come up with recommendations as to how to move those dollars forward. We'll try and try and make the most of whatever we can put together.”
Marsh says they’ll have to make those recommendations to the state’s Ways and Means committee, which handles the formal budgeting.
The hearing starts at 5:30 p.m. and you can join it here.
If you’re not able to give a live testimony, you can email one to firstname.lastname@example.org.