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Merkley, Wyden Announce $2.4 Million FEMA Grant to Shelter Victims of Wildfire Disasters

Decimated homes from the Echo Mountain Fire

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced a major federal grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that will help reimburse significant costs for providing non-congregate shelter to Oregonians who lost their homes or were displaced during the 2020 wildfires.

“I will never forget seeing entire towns that had been completely destroyed by wildfire in September 2020, or meeting children who were living at evacuation sites,” said Merkley. “The 2020 wildfires were one of the biggest displacement events we’ve seen in Oregon in decades, and it was a huge undertaking to make sure that thousands of impacted families had a safe place to stay in the aftermath. I am pleased that this grant will help cover those costs, and I will keep fighting to lessen the burden on Oregon families as we continue to fight for recovery efforts in every corner of the state.”

“So many Oregon families suffered heartbreak and loss when the 2020 wildfires destroyed their homes and ripped through their communities,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified after witnessing the devastation from these blazes that our state will receive this grant to help cover shelter costs for Oregonians displaced by the wildfires. And I’ll keep working to provide all the assistance that’s needed statewide to recover and rebound from this historic destruction.”

Powerful straight-line winds and wind-driven fires destroyed or caused substantial damages to homes in numerous counties, creating mass displacement of families, and leaving residents with limited options for temporary shelter. Following the devastation, 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.

FEMA will be sending the more than $2.4 million grant to the Oregon Department of Human Services to cover the costs of operating 89 shelters for disaster survivors in 22 cities in the following counties:  Baker, Benton, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, and Multnomah.

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