Jane Stebbins
The Curry Coastal Pilot

Oregon was able to secure federal funding for infrastructure damage caused by last winter’s storms, but Curry County won’t be getting any.

The Port of Brookings Harbor requested $3 million in January for 14 projects to address damage caused by last winter’s storms. They include repairs to boat-basin slopes, dredging to remove silt that continues to fill up the basin, repairs to the failing boardwalk and fuel docks, and the damage caused by driftwood that ocean waves dumped on the RV park.

A second FEMA request is pending for $1 million to replace dock pilings in the recreation boat basin that were undermined by high water and had to be removed.

The statewide request from FEMA was initially denied, but this week, President Trump reversed the decision and announced the federal government will allow Oregon communities to try to recoup the costs.

The money, however, is only going to four counties that experienced blizzards, mud slides and flooding: Columbia, Deschutes, Josephine and Hood River counties. Other counties that requested aid after Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in January included Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Jefferson, Wasco, Curry and Union.

Damage ranged from that suffered locally to heavy snowfall that crushed onion sheds in Malheur County, trees that crushed buildings and vehicles and the flooding that occurred after all that snow melted.

FEMA’s acting Administrator Robert Fenton said in May that storm damage in the state was “not of such severity and magnitude” that the state couldn’t handle it on its own. The federal government does not assist in paying for snow removal.

It is unknown how much money might be available.

Port Manager Gary Dehlinger said he is unsure how the port will proceed now that they have been denied funding.

The eligible counties can now submit requests for up to 75 percent of funds needed to repair roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools and recreational areas. Funds will also be available for hazard mitigation projects to reduce risks to life and property from natural or technological disasters, the FEMA website reads.

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