Oregon wildfires - burned home

One of many homes that did not survive the September 2021 Oregon wildfires.

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, alongside Representatives Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader and Suzanne Bonamici, recently announced the federal government has agreed to pay 100 percent of the costs associated with debris removal and emergency measures following last year’s Labor Day fires.

The Oregon delegation pushed the White House four times to make this determination, citing estimates that the cost of debris removal alone would top $622 million.

“When last year’s Labor Day fires broke out, I drove over 600 miles across our state to meet affected families and to assess the damage. The destruction I saw was gut-wrenching. Oregonian lives were lost, homes and businesses were leveled and entire communities were destroyed,” Merkley said. “We’ve made a lot of progress since these fires were put out — but those efforts were expensive and challenging. That’s why I’m glad the federal government has agreed to reimburse our state and local governments for the emergency costs they faced in the wake of the blazes.”

“Oregon has made incredible progress recovering from the catastrophic Labor Day fires,” Wyden said. “For months, the Oregon delegation has been pushing for federal reimbursement of recovery efforts around the state, so I’m glad to see FEMA certify full reimbursement for debris removal and emergency costs which will be critical as Oregonians work to rebuild our communities.”

“Last year’s Labor Day fires were devastating. Entire communities were destroyed, and lives were tragically lost. As Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency, I led the Oregon delegation in requesting the Trump and Biden administrations to marshal increased federal resources to help Oregon communities recover from the disaster,” DeFazio said. “I’m pleased that the federal government has agreed to fully reimburse our state and local governments for the costliest month of emergency costs they faced due to the wildfires. This agreement will help us rebuild and keep our recovery on track.”

“The deadly Labor Day fires that devastated the state last year took an especially steep personal and economic toll on Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District, as whole towns, homes, businesses and livelihoods were destroyed,” Schrader said. “To properly address the lack of resources, devastation and heartache caused by the historic fires, the Oregon delegation pressed the federal government to cover the full emergency and cleanup costs our state and local governments incurred during a period following the historic fires, rather than just the standard 75 percent federal share of assistance. These reimbursements mean our communities are able to further recover, rebuild and take steps to prevent wildfire disasters in the future.”

FEMA will cover the costs of debris removal and emergency protective measures for a 30-day period identified by the state. Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, and Yamhill Counties will receive the reimbursement for emergency protective measures, including evacuations and establishing operation centers. Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, and Tillamook Counties will receive funding for debris removal costs associated with the fires. Additionally, Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, and Tillamook Counties will also receive reimbursements for permanent preventive measures.

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