ODOT receives funding for wildfire cleanup
FEMA announced Aug. 4 that it awarded Oregon Department of Transportation more than $34 million for debris removal on lands affected by wildfire, with $11,934,626 of it allotted for Marion County.
"This award will reimburse ODOT for the cost of cleaning up private properties in Marion County for those property owners who have opted into the statewide wildfire cleanup program," said Marion County spokeswoman Jolene Kelley. "The cleanup work is already underway and in full swing. This announcement confirms the maximum reimbursement amount FEMA has approved.
"There is no expected change in schedule and these funds will go directly to the state rather than Marion County," Kelley added.
FEMA designated $34,488,250 to defray costs of debris removal, with cleanups in Douglas ($2,036,091), Jackson ($10,274,429), Lane ($6,734,763) and Lincoln ($3,508,341) counties also targeted with the assistance.
ODOT is allowed to remove debris from private property, but not commercial property, via a signed right of entry agreement.
Debris removal includes miscellaneous metals (excluding vehicles); burned debris and ash; contaminated soil; and vegetative debris (hazardous trees) that were determined to pose a threat to public health and safety from private property for disposal.
On the day the funding was announced, Scott McClure, Marion County's long-term disaster recovery manager, told the county commission that it has been roughly 11 months since the wildfire disaster, and about 27% of the Santiam Canyon homes have been repaired or replaced. About 48.2% of the home sites have been cleared and 42.8% of the estimated 25,250 hazardous trees have been removed.
"We had a little bit of a slowdown (on property cleanup) because of a change in contractors. Hopefully, that will pick up," McClure said. "One thing we are hoping, too, is that some of the areas of the state are actually ahead of schedule on theirs, so maybe at some point they can shift crews in our direction."
Kelley said property owners affected by the disasters can still take advantage of state help.
"This is also a good time to remind wildfire-impacted property owners that it is not too late for sign-up for the statewide cleanup effort," Kelley said. "To opt into the program, property owners will need to complete a Right of Entry agreement. The form is available online, and the program is free for property owners."
To learn more visit co.marion.or.us and search for "wildfire recovery."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.