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Rogue Valley News 10/9 – Temporary Housing Assistance Granted for Oregon Wildfire Survivors, Covid Updates

Temporary Housing Assistance Granted for Oregon Wildfire Survivors

Oregon took a significant step forward in wildfire recovery efforts this week. A State requested direct housing mission to help provide temporary housing for hundreds of Oregonians displaced by wildfire was granted from FEMA on Wednesday, October 7.

The state and FEMA are finalizing the implementation plan for this mission, under which residents in Jackson, Linn and Marion Counties who lost their homes in September wildfires may be eligible. Considerations for prioritization of these three counties included factors such as immediate need and lack of available rental resources. Jackson County alone accounts for more than half of the homes lost in Oregon.

Housing solutions in this mission are tailored to the individual needs and situations of survivors based on how quickly their homes can be repaired to a safe, sanitary and secure condition, and the availability of housing options in their communities. 

“The approval of this housing mission is an important milestone in the recovery process and provides some temporary stability to those who have undergone such disruption,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps. “We’re grateful to FEMA for their support and continue to work directly with our state and local partners to put our plans in action.”

Direct housing assistance was requested for Douglas, Jackson, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion. FEMA continues to evaluate the need for temporary housing assistance in additional affected counties. The state continues to work directly with the Red Cross and other public and private partners to ensure every impacted Oregonian has a safe place to stay.

To be eligible for direct housing assistance, Oregon wildfire survivors must register with FEMA and reside in Jackson, Linn or Marion County. Damage must be to the primary residence and must be a result of the wildfires. FEMA will reach out to individual households who are potentially eligible for direct temporary housing based on the results of their FEMA inspection.  

“We are deeply grateful to Oregon’s Federal Delegation and the Federal Government for recognizing the need in Oregon,” said Oregon Housing and Community Services Executive Director Margaret Salazar. “We were already facing extreme housing shortages across the state. The massive loss of housing caused by the wildfires only exacerbated this crisis. This swift action and much needed federal aid is welcome news to Oregon families impacted by the wildfires.”

Strong windstorms on September 7 ignited multiple wildfires across western Oregon and exacerbated wildfires already in progress. More than 1 million acres burned in 20 Oregon counties; some 4,100 homes were destroyed and thousands more suffered major damage.

The State of Oregon requested Direct Housing Assistance to meet the needs of disaster survivors based on the high number of destroyed homes and displaced residents as well as an extreme housing shortage within highly vulnerable communities.

Direct Housing Assistance is a program available through FEMA’s Individual and Household Program (IHP). The FEMA temporary housing program provides housing for up to 18 months after a disaster declaration.  Commonly, FEMA’s disaster housing programs pay for rental of apartments and homes and for immediate home repairs.

Today’s Headlines

Oregon reports 484 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases overnight, 11 new deaths

COVID-19 has claimed 11 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 594, the Oregon Health Authority reported today. OHA also reported 484 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 36,116. 

Today’s is the highest daily case count since the beginning of the pandemic in Oregon.

An outbreak of 59 cases of COVID-19 has been reported at Planasa Oregon Operations LLC in Klamath County. The case count includes all persons linked to the outbreak, which may include household members and other close contacts to an employee. 

The outbreak investigation started on Oct. 1, but the initial case count was below the threshold for public disclosure. State and county public health officials are working with the business to address the outbreak and protect the health of workers. 

Due to a delay in reporting, 40 cases from today’s daily case count for Klamath County have been added to case counts for the week ending Oct. 3. Twelve additional cases that were originally reported in a different jurisdiction were transferred to Klamath County. All 52 cases will be added to the week ending Oct. 3 in order to be counted toward the county’s school reopening metrics. The delay in reporting resulted from initial uncertainty about the location of the worksite where many of the cases were employed.  

The recent increase in cases reported in the OHA Weekly Report yesterday indicated that most cases continue to be traced to outbreaks in long-term care facilities, workplaces and social gatherings. 

The new cases in the state are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (11), Clackamas (31), Columbia (8), Coos (1), Curry (1), Deschutes (17), Douglas (9), Gilliam (1), Hood River (3), Jackson (17), Jefferson (11), Josephine (2), Klamath (44), Lane (71), Lincoln (3), Linn (20), Malheur (16), Marion (31), Morrow (5), Multnomah (82), Polk (5), Umatilla (18), Union (2), Wasco (4), Washington (58) and Yamhill (12).

The Pacific Northwest could play a major role in helping people recover from coronavirus. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University are conducting a new trial for a potential treatment of COVID-19.

President Donald Trump said he received an antibody cocktail called Regeneron last week after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Dr. Akram Khan of OHSU says that the trial that just started this week is looking at antibodies very similar to what President Trump got. Dr. Khan stopped short of calling it a cure, saying antibody treatments prevent the virus from attaching to the cells, prevents it from replicating and decreases the severity of the illness.

The Bend City Council has unanimously voted to allow families displaced by the state’s wildfire to park their RVs and trailers temporarily on private land while they rebuild. The emergency declaration passed Wednesday will take effect immediately, according to The Bend Bulletin newspaper.

The policy is modeled on similar ones passed in the towns of Talent, where the wildfires displaced hundreds of families, and nearby Medford. The idea behind the emergency declaration is to help people who are rebuilding homes that were destroyed by wildfires in towns like Talent and Phoenix, which already had low vacancy rates before the fires, according to the order. Thousands of Oregonians have been displaced from multiple wildfires that devastated large swaths of the state in September.

A federal judge has dismissed a $30 million lawsuit filed by an Oregon State Police trooper who was shot 12 times in December 2016. Nic Cederberg and his wife sued Legacy Meridian Park Hospital claiming the suspect, James Tylka, should not have been released from the hospital because police requested a mental health hold.

But the judge ruled it is not reasonable to conclude that holding Tylka would have changed his criminal actions. Last year, the judge also dismissed a lawsuit Cederberg and his wife filed against Washington County’s 911 center. Cederberg was left with long-term disabilities from the shooting. He has several weeks to file an appeal.

General Season Archery Elk hunters who were unable to hunt because they were displaced or personally impacted by wildfires may exchange their tag for a “general season any weapon elk tag.

” This exhange option is available only to general season archery hunters who never had a chance to hunt during the 2020 season.  Oregon Fish and Wildlife says “Personally impacted” means living in an area that was evacuated due to wildfires or being a first responder, law enforcement, firefighter or utility worker who was unable to hunt. Having a family member that was impacted does not qualify you for a tag exchange. Hunters will be required to attest that they did not hunt during the archery season. Archery Elk hunters exchanging their tag will need to choose a tag for one of the following seasons instead (see the Big Game Regulations for more details about these seasons).

SNAP program extended
The Oregon Department of Human services is receiving federal approval for an additional extension for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients in 20 counties.

The approval allows the request the replacement of benefits as a result of food loss due to power outages and wildfires that began on September 7, 2020. Jackson, Josephine, Lake, and Klamath counties are among the 20 counties that now have until October 19, 2020 to apply.  To request replacement food benefits you can call your local office and submit the required information through email, fax, or regular mail. Recipients can use either Form DHS 0349D (Affidavit for Nonreceipt or Destroyed Food Stamp Benefits) or submit a signed and dated written request that includes how the food was destroyed, the date it happened, destroyed food items, and the amount paid for each item.

Douglas County Republican Headquarters in downtown Roseburg was vandalized again late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. The vandals broke eight windows and three doors and spread glass two-thirds of the way into the building, said Douglas County Republican Chairperson Valynn Currie.

It was the sixth similar attack this year. Currie said the nine windows that were damaged in the most recent previous attack in September had just been replaced last week. Now most will have to be replaced again — at an estimated cost of $2,500.

On Wednesday, Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division Troopers responded to the area of Abbott Street and Mt. Scott Lane in Glide, OR. They located a Whitetail Buck Deer that had been shot with a small caliber firearm in the morning or early afternoon hours of Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

The Oregon State Police is requesting that any person with information about this incident contact Oregon State Police Southern Command Center at 1-800-442-2068 or *OSP and leave information for Trooper Jason Stone if you are wishing to remain anonymous you may also contact the OSP through the Turn in Poachers line at TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or TIP E-Mail: TIP@state.or.us (Monitored M-F 8:00AM – 5:00PM)

Anyone providing information may remain anonymous and be eligible to receive a preference point or monetary award for information leading to a citation or arrest in this case. The TIP program offers preference point rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of big game mammals.

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