25 January 2021

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USA – SALEM, Ore. — The House Wildfire Recovery Committee is meeting tonight to discuss new ways to support people impacted by the September wildfires.

The fires damaged and destroyed more than 4,000 homes across the state. Committee members say those who are trying to rebuild continue to face challenges.

“We want to make sure that the legislature is really focused on the horrific fires that we had and the need for communities across the state to have the support they need to get back to where we are and hopefully to get back into even better conditions than we had before.” said Representative Pam Marsh.

Marsh says the main focus of the meetings will be hearing from those who have been impacted. In mid-February the committee will start hosting virtual public hearings. She says the testimonies will help them figure out what policy changes to make.

“From a state perspective, that’s really important input because we won’t be able to solve all of the issues with state money, but we will be able to make some targeted investments,” Marsh said. “So we need to make sure that those investments are spurring the kind of housing that people want to live in on the longterm.”

Marsh says they expect to get input on the loss of housing and what type of homes people would like to see built.

“The fact is that we are really only starting to dip our toes into the actual process of recovery,” Marsh said. “What we’ve been doing is responding to the emergency, so now we need to know what people experienced and what they need us to be thinking about as we design the work to be done in the months ahead.”

Tonight’s meeting will be livestreamed here.

The virtual public hearings will begin on February 17th. The committee will release more information in the coming weeks on how people can sign up and participate.

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