WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that federal grants totaling nearly $19 million will come to Oregon to assist with recovery efforts from last year’s wildfire disasters.
“During my visit to Santiam Canyon and other areas in the aftermath of their devastating wildfires, it was clear the damages to our forests, rural neighborhoods, and community infrastructure needed urgent attention,” said Merkley. “I am pleased that Oregon will receive critical funding that helps communities in Marion County and across the state recover from damages caused by the catastrophic Labor Day wildfires. I will continue fighting for federal resources that help rebuild essential infrastructure in Oregon and prevent future wildfire disasters.”
“The wildfires that ravaged the Santiam Canyon last year left a catastrophic aftermath to Oregon rural communities that I’ll never forget witnessing,” Wyden said. “I’m glad these federal funds are heading to our state to help Oregon families and small businesses rebound from those destructive Labor Day 2020 fires. And I’m all in with the ongoing work both to provide similar wildfire recovery help statewide, and take proactive steps to reduce wildfire risks in Oregon and nationwide.”
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will allocate nearly $7 million to Consumers Power Inc, a rural electric company that serves six Oregon counties, to repair electrical systems damaged by the 2020 Labor Day wildfires. The funding will provide disaster relief for impacted communities in Marion County. Oregon Department of Transportation will receive roughly $12 million, covering the full cost of its disaster recovery projects. Following the devastating fires, Oregon delegation members made several calls for FEMA to provide full federal cost share for wildfire recovery efforts, due to substantial increase in damages—entire communities burned to the ground, basic infrastructure decimated—that required more federal assistance than the partial cost shares of previous years.