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Oregon to get $422 million in disaster aid after 2020 fires

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Oregon will get $422 million worth of disaster aid to cover lingering costs from the Labor Day 2020 wildfires, which includes damage from the Almeda fire, pictured in this 2020 file photo.

More than 20% of a recently passed $2 billion disaster aid bill will go to Oregonians with “long-term unmet recovery needs” in the aftermath of the 2020 Labor Day wildfires.

Oregon will get $422,286,000 from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery, according to news releases this week from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Oregon Housing and Community Services and senators from Oregon.

The $2.04 billion in grants was signed into law Sept. 30 as part of the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, according to a Monday HUD release.

The funds are required to be used for “disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing, economic revitalization and mitigation in the most impacted and distressed areas,” according to the release.

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s press office stated that he used his position as chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee to secure the $2 billion.

This is the first time Oregon has received CDBG disaster recovery funding, according to press releases from Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. The grant traditionally covers natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.

California, Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee and the territory of Puerto Rico all received portions of the $2 billion to cover 2020 disasters that include floods, earthquakes, Tropical Storm Isaias and hurricanes Laura, Sally, Delta and Zeta.

The only state to get a larger allocation than Oregon was Louisiana, which will get $594,931,000 for hurricanes Laura and Delta recovery.

According to Oregon Housing and Community Services, several steps are ahead before the state can obtain the money, implement it or even set up a timeline.

The state is waiting for HUD to publish a Federal Register that will outline the process and necessary deadlines. Once published, the state will outline “eligible recovery activities and program requirements.”

Meanwhile, OHCS will conduct unmet needs assessments and develop action plans to determine ways to use the money.

Before that action plan is finalized and implemented, OHCS will hold public hearings with opportunities to review a draft plan and submit feedback.

For more information about the state’s CDBG program, see oregon.gov/ohcs/housing-assistance/Pages/CDBG.aspx.