Image default

Rogue Valley News, Thursday, 10/29 – Fire Victims Who are Denied FEMA Can Appeal Decision

Jackson County officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are urging people who were impacted by the Almeda and South Obenchain fires to register for possible assistance from FEMA.

That doesn’t mean it has been smooth sailing for everyone who’s tried, but FEMA does have advice for people who received a letter from the federal agency stating they are ineligible for assistance.

Applicants who believe the denial decision is incorrect can appeal with FEMA.

The first step is for applicants to read their determination letter carefully to understand why FEMA decided the applicant was ineligible. In many cases, the problem can be remedied by providing missing documents or other information when sending an appeal letter.

FEMA may find an applicant ineligible if the following documents are missing:

Insurance documents — Provide copies of documents from your insurance company showing your policy coverage and/or settlement is not enough to make essential home repairs, provide a place to stay or replace certain contents. FEMA won’t duplicate homeowner or renter insurance benefits, but it can help make up shortfalls.

Proof of occupancy — Provide documentation to prove the damaged house or rental was your primary residence by supplying copies of utility bills, a driver’s license or lease.

Proof of ownership — Provide copies of mortgage or insurance documents, tax receipts or a deed.

If you lost documents in a fire, learn how to replace missing documents by visiting

All appeals must be made in writing.

The appeal letter should explain why the applicant thinks FEMA’s decision is not correct. When filing an appeal, it is important to include any documentation FEMA requests and/or that supports the appeal claim.

Also, if the person writing the appeal letter is not the applicant or a member of the household, applicants must submit a signed statement that the writer is authorized to act on the behalf of the applicant.

When sending an appeal letter, be sure to include a copy of the denial letter you received from FEMA.

The appeal and supporting documents must be postmarked within 60 days of receiving your denial letter from FEMA.

Mail the information to FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055 Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055, or fax information to 1-800-827-8112.

To set up a FEMA online account or to upload documents online, visit and click on “Check Your Application and Log In” and follow the directions.

People who need help understanding their denial letter can call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362. Help is available in multiple languages.

The TTY number is 1-800-462-7585. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their assigned number for that service. They should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.

Applicants will receive a decision letter within 90 days of FEMA’s receipt of your appeal.

People who haven’t yet applied for FEMA aid can do so at


Oregon is seeing record-breaking early ballot returns with one week to go before the presidential election.  

Officials say more than one-million residents have already returned their ballots for next Tuesday’s election.  That’s 40-percent of Oregon’s registered voters.  Back in 2016, only 28-percent of Oregon voters had cast their ballots one week before the election.

COVID-19 has claimed seven more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 671.  Oregon Health Authority reported 424 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 43,228.

According to the OHA release, a seventh person has died in Jackson County in connection with Covid.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases around the state reported today are in the following counties: Baker (8), Benton (3), Clackamas (35), Clatsop (2), Columbia (1), Coos (7), Crook (2), Deschutes (26), Douglas (4), Hood River (2), Jackson (35), Klamath (3), Lake (3), Lane (34), Lincoln (1), Linn (11), Malheur (16), Marion (34), Morrow (1), Multnomah (110), Polk (6), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (17), Union (9), Wasco (1), Washington (48) and Yamhill (3).

The Oregon Health says during last week of Monday, Oct. 19, through Sunday, Oct. 25, they recorded a 14% increase from the previous week and a record high for the pandemic.

The number of newly tested Oregonians rose to 31,448, and the percentage of positive tests held steady at 6.5%. Twenty-seven people were reported to have died in association with COVID-19 — compared to 25 the previous week — and 143 were hospitalized.

People age 20 to 49 accounted for the largest percentage of infection at 56%, despite accounting for 39% of the total population. People younger than 30 accounted for 37% of the cases.

People over 80 accounted for 51% of COVID-19 associated deaths, and people over 70 accounted for 75% of deaths associated with the illness.

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, OHA reminds people to:

  • Wear a face covering.
  • Keep physically distant.
  • Avoid large gatherings and restrict gatherings with people who don’t live with you.
  • Maintain good hand hygiene.

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hopes a new set of temporary emergency rules will help turn the tide and build upon current guidelines set by the Oregon Health Authority.

Seven months into the pandemic and after much discussion with the public and stakeholders, Oregon OSHA released a draft of “COVID-19 workplace safety and health rules”.

Among other things, the draft rules require employers to offer the best air quality they can to employees and provide proper personal protective equipment along with clear rules about wearing it. They also require employers to notify employees of a workplace infection—which they don’t have to do now—and provide training on how to reduce COVID-19 in the workplace—also not a current requirement. Right now Virginia and Michigan are the only states that have implemented COVID-19 emergency workplace standards. Oregon would be the third. Wood expected Oregon OSHA would adopt its temporary COVID-19 workplace rules sometime next week.

They’ll expire after 180 days but Wood said OSHA would implement permanent rules immediately after that.

Oregon is joining California’s initiative to independently review COVID-19 vaccines that are approved by the FDA before making them available statewide.  

Speaking with reporters, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that Oregon has joined California’s Scientific Safety Review Workgroup along with Washington state and Nevada.  Newsom said that California has been working “collaboratively” with the CDC, and that he doesn’t believe the review process will cause distribution delays. 

Oregon officials announced on Wednesday that “limited” visits to long-term care facilities can begin on November 2. Nursing homes, assisted living, and residential care facilities have been largely restricted to visitors since the state went on lockdown in March, though outdoor visits were approved in July.

Beginning Monday, residents of a care facility can have up to two visitors at a time, meeting in an “approved” area. The visits are open only to qualifying facilities. In order to qualify, a facility must have no current or suspected coronavirus cases, must follow DHS and federal guidance, and must be in a community with a “low or medium rate” of COVID-19 exposure.

For facilities in higher-risk areas, visits are allowed in some limited circumstances — largely for end-of-life situations. The facilities themselves will need to stagger visits in order to limit the number of guests, setting time limits if needed; clean and disinfect surfaces frequently; provide health screenings and PPE for visitors; set up a dedicated visiting area; and keep a log of visitors.

Today the Oregon Employment Department announced the launch of Focus Adjudication, an initiative to process 100 percent of claims waiting to be adjudicated.

Although the Oregon Employment Department has provided $5.3 billion in benefits to more than 443,000 Oregonians since March, many people have one or more weeks of claims that federal requirements say must be adjudicated.

“We know that too many families are still waiting for relief. We are doing everything we can to speed up the process so that Oregonians can receive the benefits they deserve. We know a targeted effort like Focus Adjudication works because it succeeded in eliminating backlogs in regular unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department.

Focus Adjudication allows the Employment Department to track progress against the Sept. 30 figure of 52,000 people with claims in adjudication. Of the 52,000, the number of people with claims in adjudication dropped to 48,000 on Oct. 14, and dropped further to 45,250 on Oct. 21. Today, of that 52,000, approximately 41,700 people have claims in adjudication, a nearly 20 percent decrease. Some Oregonians may have only one week’s claim in adjudication and still receive benefits for all other weeks claimed. Others may have several weeks in adjudication and still receive benefits for other weeks claimed.

Before Focus Adjudication was launched more than 18,000 people received benefits through the Benefits While You Wait program.

The Employment Department is legally required to move a claim into adjudication when a person’s eligibility for unemployment benefits is unclear. A claim may be placed in adjudication if it appears a person has quit their job, has been fired, didn’t accept work, is on a school recess, or in other situations.

Adjudication is a complex, time-intensive process. The timeframe for resolving these claims depends on how complex any given case is: Some cases can be resolved quickly, while others require more experienced adjudicators to ensure an accurate decision is made.

The Focus Adjudication goal is to process all claims before the end of the year.The Employment Department will provide weekly progress updates on the initiative’s progress.

An Oregon Office of Emergency Management dashboard shows that at least 4,009 homes were destroyed in eight counties in Oregon in recent fires. Some 2,364 homes were destroyed in Jackson County and 11 in Klamath County.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state have awarded millions of dollars in aid and other initiatives to help fire victims.

Oregon’s devastating September wildfires that killed nine people and burned more than 1 million acres.

Most of the wildfires in Oregon are contained, though several aren’t yet: the Riverside fire near Estacada (72% contained), the Thielsen fire in the Diamond Lake area (80% contained) and the Slater fire in Josephine County and Northern California (85% contained).

For Oregonians with questions or concerns about voting this election, the state Attorney General’s office says that it has set up a voter protection hotline to provide answers.

The voter protection hotline can be reached at 971-673-4111 for anyone with non-emergency questions and concerns. Messages are reviewed regularly by Department of Justice staff, who can usually return calls within 24 hours on weekdays, or by Monday if left over the weekend. Instructions are offered in English and Spanish, but messages can be returned in other languages upon request.

The AG’s office asserts that voter fraud in Oregon is extremely rare, based on studies throughout the state’s 20-year history with vote-by-mail. Nonetheless, voters who have suspicions about possible fraud and other illegal election activity can use the hotline to report them.

A Portland City Commissioner is proposing a plan to redirect millions of dollars in police funding to community members struggling financially amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty unveiled a proposal yesterday to cut 18-million dollars from the Portland Police Bureau.  Mayor Ted Wheeler says he wants to hear more about the potential public safety impact before signing off on it.  A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for tomorrow.

The Oregon Employment Department has received authorization to extend the deadline for filing Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) applications. The new deadline to file DUA applications is Friday, November 27, 2020. Individuals may qualify for DUA if they became unemployed, had their work hours substantially reduced, or are unemployed self-employed individuals as a direct result of the wildfires and straight-line winds that took place since September 7, 2020. They also must not qualify for regular state Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or other benefit programs.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a federal program that provides temporary unemployment assistance benefits to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost, reduced, or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster. The Oregon Employment Department administers the DUA program for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Individuals eligible for regular unemployment benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are not eligible for DUA.

DUA is available to eligible individuals for weeks of unemployment beginning September 13, 2020. Benefits under this program will be available until March 20, 2021, as long as their unemployment continues to be a direct result of the major disaster. The new deadline for filing a DUA claim related to these fires is November 27, 2020

In addition to people who lost their jobs as a direct result of the major disaster, DUA may include individuals who:

  • Were self-employed and prevented from performing such services as a result of the disaster and the work or self-employment was their primary source of income.
  • Were unable to reach their job because of the disaster.
  • Were scheduled to and prevented from beginning work or self-employment in the disaster area,
  • Were unable to work due to injury as a direct result of the disaster, or
  • Became head of household due a death caused by the disaster.
  • Have applied for and used all regular unemployment benefits from any state, do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits or extension programs, and remain unemployed as a direct result of the disaster.

Unemployment is a direct result of the major disaster if the unemployment resulted from any of the following:

  • Physical damage or destruction of the place of employment.
  • Physical inaccessibility of the place of employment due to its closure by the federal, state, or local government in immediate response to the disaster.
  • Lack of work or loss of revenues if, prior to the disaster, the employer or self-employed business received a majority of its income from a business in the area that was damaged or destroyed in the disaster or an entity in the major disaster area closed by the federal, state, or local government.

To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be turned in at the time of filing, or within 21 days from the day a DUA application is filed. Applicants will need to provide supporting documentation, including but not limited to, proof of employment or self-employment at the time of the disaster and income information for the 2019 tax year. Additional required documentation includes the applicant’s Social Security number and a copy of their most recent federal income tax form or check stubs, or documentation to support that they were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. Self-employed individuals can get documents to verify their employment from their bank, government entities such as the Internal Revenue Service, or individuals having knowledge of their business.

Affected individuals are encouraged to apply for DUA through the Oregon Employment Department (OED), which will first check if applicants can qualify for state unemployment benefits, PEUC, other extension programs, or PUA benefits.

Applications for DUA are available in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, and Simplified Chinese online at may submit your application to the address below or online at Include the weeks you would like to claim in your initial application. More information is available on our website and social media pages. For additional questions or to request an initial application, call: 503-570-5000

 A Bend-area man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for running an illegal butane honey oil, or BHO extraction lab, on rural Alfalfa-area property. U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said Tuesday that Jacob Robe, 31, also will face three years’ supervised release after his prison term, KTVZ reported. According to court documents, Robe and his brother grew marijuana, manufactured BHO and distributed it in other states for significant profit. On March 27, 2018, an Oregon State Police trooper stopped Robe for a traffic violation near Klamath Falls. The officer recognized signs of drug trafficking and eventually found over $20,000 in cash, BHO and hallucinogenic mushrooms, court documents said.

Modoc National Forest Christmas tree permits will be on sale at various local businesses from November 5 through December 24, according to a news release.

No tree permits will be sold directly by the forest service. Permits are $10 each, with a limit of two permits per household. Permits should be in possession when cutting trees.

Permits are available for purchase at the following businesses: Chevron Station (Alturas), Page’s Market (Cedarville), Davis Creek Mercantile (Davis Creek), Don’s Deli (Newell), Jolly Kone (Tulelake), Adin Supply Co. (Adin), Likely General Store (Likely), and Juniper Junction (Adin).

Fourth grade students who get an Every Kid Outdoors Pass can use that pass for one free Christmas tree from the Modoc National Forest, just take that pass along when harvesting a family tree. This pass also allows free access to federal lands and waters for a full year.

To get started, a fourth grader can visit and follow the instructions to print an outdoor pass. This pass will serve as the Christmas tree permit for participating fourth graders and their families this year.

The Modoc National Forest and its partners have completed the year’s wild horse gather operations, according to a news release. Modoc National Forest personnel have decided to make horses aged 10 and older available for placement beginning Tuesday, Nov. 10. Forest personnel also heard concerns from potential adopters and will offer in-person viewing appointments at the Double Devil Wild Horse Corrals beginning Nov. 10 by appointment only Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Call 530-233-8738 to make viewing appointments. Horses ages 1-9 will first become available in a series of virtual placement events beginning Tuesday, Dec. 1. All placement forms including a viewing and pick-up scheduling request form can be found at Photos of most available horses are found at Double Devil Wild Horse Corrals Facebook page.

On Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at approximately 5:30 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle rollover crash on Hwy 62 near milepost 37.  Responders located a badly damaged Ford Explorer with no occupants. 

It is believed the operator was Matthew Lang (33) of Bend. Lang has not contacted friends or family since the crash.

Jackson County Search and Rescue is currently searching the area for Lang.    Lang is 6 feet tall 185 lbs with brown hair. If you have seen or heard from Lang since the crash please contact the Oregon State Police Southern Command Center at 1-800-442-2068 or *OSP.

Must Read

Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 2/7 Blood Drive TODAY at the RCC Riverside Campus, Grants Pass Murder Suspect Arrested & Other Local and Statewide News…

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Tuesday, Oct. 15th -Gold Hill Mother Remains in Custody After Crash

Brian Casey

Prime Your Boating Safety Education and “Spring Aboard!”

Brian Casey