Governor includes county in federal disaster request

By SUE RYAN

News staff writer

December 13, 2006

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has asked President Bush for a presidential disaster declaration for Oregon counties affected by November’s massive flooding.

“Given the amount of damage, we need the federal government to partner with us so our communities can begin to rebuild their homes, businesses and roads, and to help us mitigate damage from future flooding or other natural disasters,” Kulongoski said.

The request went in Monday and included Hood River as well as Lincoln, Tillamook, and Clatsop counties under it.

The total amount of damage assessment for all four counties was $6 million. Hood River County had initially submitted $27 million in damages with an additional $22 million in potential losses for the agricultural industry.

Part of the reduction came from damages being excluded because they were covered by insurance, or damages that were the responsibility of another agency.

For Hood River County, the majority of damage occurred Nov. 6 and 7 when the county had record rainstorms resulting in debris flows and high water from its southern edge near Mount Hood to the Columbia River.

“We’re glad to see that Hood River County was included and that will enable the public entities to get some relief for damages and mitigation efforts,” said Dave Meriwether, the county’s administrator.

He said that unfortunately the declaration did not include funding for private properties and businesses in Hood River County. Mt. Hood Railroad had reported damages of more than $1.2 million. Tillamook County was the only county that had a high enough damage level for the governor to also request a Physical Disaster Declaration from the Small Business Administration. That could make low interest loans available for homeowners and businesses.

“The level of damage and loss here do not rise to a level to make that an eligible declaration here. We’ll continue to work with those businesses to help them find relief,” Meriwether said.

Federal Public Law 93-288 requires that public entities filing applications for disaster relief must accept responsibility for 25 percent of the loss.

For Hood River County, multiple sites suffered damages. Among those are the Ice Fountain Water District, the Farmers Irrigation District, and the Middle Fork Irrigation District.

Floodwaters deposited 15 feet of debris in the Ice Fountain district. Its other damages included an exposed wall that was eroded by the Hood River and its spring’s capacity being reduced.

The Farmers Irrigation District main canal inlet facility sustained heavy structural damage during the flood and its access road was washed away. Both control gates were damaged and up to 300 feet of canal was filled in with silt and rock.

The Middle Fork Irrigation District lost Penstock line (steel pipe) from Laurance Lake to the settling basin. The flood and debris torrent also took out the Eliot Branch Diversion and lost roadway to the Coe Branch diversion.

The decision on whether or not the federal government will award disaster relief should come from FEMA within the next few weeks.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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