Immediate and long-term assistance in Oregon’s wildfire recovery

16 September 2020

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USA – DETROIT, Ore. — As firefighters around the state work to contain wildfires, federal, state, and local governments are starting to plan for the recovery.

Across the state, 1,145 homes have been destroyed according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. The numbers are expected to go up.

The towns of Detroit, Phoenix and Talent were nearly wiped out by the fires.

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On Tuesday, a Presidential Disaster Declaration was issued which made more federal resources available.

RELATED| Oregon major disaster declaration ‘testament to the severity of this crisis,’ Merkley says

People who have been impacted by wildfires are told to apply for FEMA disaster aid immediately, then asked to contact their homeowners or renter insurance agency.

Aid is available to people in the following counties: Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion Counties.

FEMA can assist with temporary housing, grants to rebuild and repair your home. Assistance is also available to small businesses.

PHOTOS| Aftermath of Oregon wildfires

Senator Jeff Merkley said he hopes to see better state coordination.

“We need the state and the Red Cross to put out a very clear understanding of exactly how people access aid at the same time people need to register with FEMA,” Sen. Merkley said.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management said the agency will oversee the rebuilding process.

Congressman Greg Walden said he wants to see areas assessed for safety so the debris removal process can begin.

“In Jackson County in 2018 there were 400 housing units constructed that entire year in all of Jackson County. We just lost 2700 housing units. You think about trying to rebuild. It is going to take awhile.” Walden said.

Meanwhile in Estacada, volunteers are helping neighbors with immediate needs, and handing out food to people who need it.

Marion County Commissioner Kevin Cameron knows it will be a long process. He lives in Detroit, and has seen the devastation first hand.

“The first thing you notice is the gas station is gone. The hotel is gone. The marina infrastructure is gone,” Cameron said.

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