Kulongoski to Ask for Federal Disaster Declaration

Following this weekend's storms and subsequent flooding, Governor Kulongoski will ask President Bush for a federal disaster declaration.

From the Oregonian:

Gov. Ted Kulongoski announced in Medford that he will request a federal disaster declaration from President Bush.

The state does not have firm figures on the amount of damage, but the governor wanted to "to get the oar in the water and do all the necessary preparation," said Lonn Hoklin, a spokesman for the Department of Administrative Services.

A presidential declaration of a major disaster or emergency will make the state eligible for federal money and aid. Kulongoski declared a statewide state of emergency on Monday.

Kulongoski also announced he will push for establishing a statewide safety radio network in the upcoming Legislative Special Session. Meanwhile, Loaded Orygun has a roundup of storm related news.

Update: A press release detailing the request is available on the Governor's website:

Governor Kulongoski today asked President Bush for an expedited federal declaration of emergency. In a letter sent to the President, the Governor wrote, "I formally request that you declare a major disaster for the State of Oregon as a result of the severe storm and flooding which began on December 1, 2007 and has critically impacted Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, Tillamook and Yamhill Counties. I have determined that this incident of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state of Oregon and the affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary."

In the letter, Governor Kulongoski states that on December 3rd, he launched the execution of the State Emergency Plan and issued a State Emergency Statewide for Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, Tillamook and Yamhill counties and the lands of the confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and on the lands of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.

As outlined in the letter, Governor Kulongoski has taken unprecedented steps to assist the counties in responding to the disaster. He authorized the use of the Department of Corrections mobile kitchen unit to travel to Vernonia to provide citizens and work crews with hot, nourishing meals. Normally the use of this unit is limited due to federal restrictions, but the extreme situation does not allow for time to ask for a waiver.

The Governor expects the federal declaration of emergency to be granted and in cooperation with FEMA to launch a joint preliminary damage assessment on Thursday, December 6th.

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