Thursday, January 25, 2007
By SUE RYAN
News staff writer
January 6, 2007
The year turned over Sunday and with it came a welcome start to 2007 for Hood River County.
Emergency Management Officer Karl Tesch received word Dec. 31 that the state’s application for disaster relief had received presidential approval.
“What it means is the government is probably paying for most of the costs,” he said.
He referred to the Nov. 5-8 flood damages; which affected four counties in Oregon including Hood River, Lincoln, Tillamook, and Clatsop.
The state’s Emergency Management Office had listed the total amount of assessed damages at $6 million for all four counties. Before any money arrives though, the applicants face a round of paperwork and bureaucracy. The first step will be for Tesch to meet with County Administrator Dave Meriwether and Economic Development Coordinator Bill Fashing. That meeting is set for next week.
Following it, OEM will bring federal coordinators to Hood River within the next few weeks to explain the next level of report requirements. Those involve each entity submitting much more detailed requests than the initial reports.
“The briefing will be to get the paperwork started and to set up each one with a project manager,” said Abby Kershaw, director of OEM’s financial and recovery section.
The storm affected 14 sites within Hood River County. The Mt. Hood Railroad, which reported more than $1 million in damages, will not receive any relief.
“The private sector is not covered,” Tesch said.
Among the sites affected by the damages were both Farmers and Middle Fork irrigation districts, Ice Fountain Water District, Red Hill Road Bridge, Toll Bridge Road, and Highway 35.
One question remains gray. That is whether or not the Port of Hood River damages will be considered. Initially Kershaw had said the port would not be covered due to legal definitions. Those outline that any damaged infrastructure such as the Hood River channel that is the responsibility of another agency can not be considered for damage assessment by the state. In the Port’s case, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for dredging costs.
The damages at the port involve shoaling and sand that has filled in at the cruise ship dock. The state said that made the damages ineligible as it was the responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Tesch disagreed.
“The port is covered,” he said.
Jon Gornick, Corps dredging engineer, said Thursday that nothing was happening on the Corps part.
“At this point, it’s in the port’s hands,” he said.
Kershaw stated Thursday that the issue was one that had to be resolved between the Corps and port.
“The port? It’s not for sure,” she said.
Kershaw explained that FEMA would examine the situation once they arrived to figure out the port’s eligibility.
Michael McElwee, executive director for the Port, said they are working closely with the Corps on the access channel issue.
“There are limited, if any economic damages to port facilities except for that channel,” he said.
He said the port has just begun the evaluation of the situation, which may take up to a year to complete.
“Until we do that, it’s unclear what would be the most prudent options to pursue,” he said.
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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