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Rogue Valley News, Monday, 10/12 – FEMA Approves Temp Housing Funds for Jackson County

On Friday, Jackson County was officially approved by FEMA to receive Temporary Housing Assistance. The approval was met after FEMA reviewed a document by Governor Brown’s office, that showcased all of the damages, lack of housing and impact that the Almeda fire had on the survivors and communities in the area.

Temporary Housing Assistance Granted for Oregon Wildfire Survivors

Oregon took a significant step forward in wildfire recovery efforts for displaced residents around the state of Oregon. 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.

On Friday, October 9th, at approximately 12:45 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 99 near milepost 12. 

Preliminary investigation revealed a Chevrolet pickup, operated by Robert Mcintosh (77) of Talent, was northbound when it left the roadway, struck a telephone pole and a parked vehicle.  The vehicle came to a stop in the front yard of a residence. 

Mcintosh was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

The passenger, Marilyn Mcintosh (77) of Talent, was transported to the hospital for injuries. It is believed Robert Mcintosh suffered from a medical emergency prior to the crash. OSP was assisted by Jackson County Fire District 5 and ODOT.  

Today’s Headlines

The state’s death toll from COVID-19 is unchanged from yesterday and remains at 599, the Oregon Health Authority reported at yesterday. 337 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 were reported  as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 37,262.

Lane County reported another 19 cases yesterday.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (1), Clackamas (37), Columbia (3), Coos (2), Crook (2), Curry (11), Deschutes (12), Douglas (4), Jackson (2), Josephine (7), Klamath (5), Lane (19), Lincoln (1), Linn (12), Malheur (5), Marion (50), Multnomah (78), Polk (5), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (12), Wasco (1), Washington (62), Wheeler (1) and Yamhill (3).

Wildfire Crews have been battling the Holiday Farm Fire east of Springfield for over a month and officials say the fire is now nearly contained, but will take a few weeks to finish mopping up hotspots.

Officials said the number of personnel on the fire is being downsized to about two 20-person crews working on the fire.  They are keeping everyone updated from the McKenzie Ranger station.

After the fire’s containment, crews will work to clear hazards from roads and look to possible re-forestation. They will also patrol the fire as fuel is expected to smolder for months. 

A man was arrested Sunday morning for allegedly striking another man in the head with a weapon.

Brian William Domin, 32, was taken into custody around 7:30 Sunday morning.  Springfield Police said the victim met Domin’s female roommate at a local bar the night before.

The next morning, Domin became upset with their behavior and struck the victim on the head with a weapon.  Domin is charged with assault and unlawful use of a weapon. He is currently being lodged at the Lane County Jail.

With the major number of COVID-19 cases as of late in Lane County, University of Oregon students are among the many residents seeking tests in Eugene and surrounding areas. COVID-19 testing is offered at community testing events, nearby clinics and through UO’s University Health Services.

Since Octover 1sr, Lane County Public Health have reported over 1,432 COVID-19 tests throughout the county. LCPH reported over 400 tests each day the following two days.

University Health Services, or UHS, provides testing for UO students. The test is conducted using a nylon nasopharyngeal swab that is inserted until about half way between the nostril and the ear and rotated several times.

UHS is collaborating with the UO Monitoring and Assessment Program to test students living in the residence halls, she said. UHS administers the tests, communicates results to students and supports those who test positive, she said, while MAP operates the lab.

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) has received approval from Food and Nutrition Services to disburse increased food benefits in October.

This additional $30 million for eligible Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will bring the total increased benefits to $180 million.

SNAP households will automatically receive the additional allotment in the same way they receive their current benefits. For most customers, this is an Oregon EBT card. The additional benefit amount will be disbursed on the schedule below to all eligible SNAP households. Some recipients may not see it until the following day.

Oregonians already enrolled in SNAP do not need to take any additional action.

The increase brings all households to the maximum SNAP benefit. Households that already receive the maximum benefit will not receive any additional benefits. This allotment will not permanently change a household’s monthly benefit amount. It is a temporary supplement to help during the current health crisis. ODHS will not be sending individual notices to households about the emergency allotments.

Questions?

To determine the maximum allotment for your household and view the FAQ, visit https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/assistance/food-benefits/pages/about-snap.aspx.

SNAP customers can contact their local SSP, APD, or AAA office for more information. Find a local office at oregon.gov/DHS/Offices/Pages/index.aspx

The Oregon Health Authority says it is changing the way it reports recovered cases of COVID-19

It says prior to May 1, 2020, it called people with COVID-19 cases and asked if they still experienced symptoms to assess when they had recovered. People who reported no longer suffering symptoms were reported as “recovered.” After May 1, when the calls discontinued, the definition changed to a person “alive 60 days after the onset of illness.”

The new definition did not factor in people who experienced prolonged illness or lasting effects from COVID-19. The OHA says for that reason, the count of recovered cases after May 1 will no longer be reported on OHA’s COVID-19 data dashboards or website. OHA says it is developing a new metric that will measure the proportion of cases who are alive 60 days after onset of illness. However, the definition is still being refined, and may take into consideration factors that measure disease severity, such as hospitalization status. 

A father-daughter visit was “brilliant” after the spur-of-the-moment gift of an Oregon Lottery Scratch-it.  Greg Peters decided he’d venture down from his home Seattle to visit his daughter, Makayla Peters in Hermiston. And this is one visit both dad and daughter will long remember! 

Peters has played Oregon Lottery Scratch-its since she was 18. Being the good dad he is, Greg bought his daughter a $5 Brilliant Sapphire Scratch-it when they stopped at the Eastside Market in Hermiston.  

“Dad said, ‘Here. I bought you this ticket.’” Peters said. “The instructions on the ticket said that if you find the gem, you win that prize. So, I started scratching it and found a gem. Then I started seeing all these zeros. I handed the ticket to Dad and said, ‘We won $50,000!’” 

Since July 1, Oregon Lottery players have won more than $2.2 million in Scratch-it prizes of more than $600. Peters became one of more than 140 people who have won jackpots playing Scratch-its in the past three months. 

Peters said she had read her horoscope a few days before getting the Scratch-it, and it said there would be lucky days ahead.  

Father and daughter will be sharing the prize, but Peters pointed out that her dad’s portion is smaller because that’s how “brilliant” dads are! 

For now, prizes up to $50,000 should be claimed by mail. Players with prizes greater than $50,000 need to make an appointment to come to the Oregon Lottery office in Salem, just as Peters did. Call 503-540-1000 for assistance.  

The Oregon Lottery reminds players to always sign the back of their Lottery tickets, regardless of the game. In the event of winning a jackpot, they should consult with a trusted financial planner or similar professional to develop a plan for their winnings.  

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned more than $12 billion for economic development, public education, Outdoor School, state parks, Veterans services and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org 

Approximately $5 million will be sent to current and former Oregonians this fall when the state Unclaimed Property Program initiates a historic distribution of unclaimed funds.

Beginning in mid October, people will begin to receive letters informing them of the forthcoming checks. The initial letter will be followed by a subsequent letter and check in early November.

The checks are funds–referred to as unclaimed property–that have been reported to the state by companies and organizations that do business with Oregonians and have been unable to return the money to the correct owner. Common examples of unclaimed property include uncashed checks, forgotten bank accounts, security deposits, tax refunds, credit balances, investment accounts, payroll checks, refunds, and more.

Typically, people need to file a claim with the unclaimed property program to receive the funds they are owed. However, given the unprecedented financial uncertainties and difficulties many are facing, the state has determined, for the first time ever, the funds will be directly mailed to the correct owner.

Checks distributed will vary in amount between $50 – $2,500, depending on the amount of unclaimed property each recipient is owed and based on criteria described at unclaimed.oregon.gov.

While $5 million is being distributed this fall, the unclaimed property program holds more than $700 million in unclaimed funds for 3 million owners. To recover funds not distributed this fall, property owners can file a claim at unclaimed.oregon.gov. The Unclaimed Property Program advises people who receive letters about the forthcoming checks to wait for the checks to arrive, as filing a claim may delay processing by 6 to 7 months.

Questions about unclaimed funds can be directed to the Oregon Unclaimed Property Program via email, claims@dsl.state.or.us or phone, (503)986–5251 or (503)986-5200

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