Whenever there is a storm or other type of disaster in Oregon, questions come to us about financial and other types of assistance. We hear “Who is going to help us?” and “How can we get state or federal assistance?”
I would love to be able to tell you that the government has enough money to fix everything for everyone but you know that’s not true. We do what we can under the laws that we have and that includes a process that must be followed. Having enough home and flood insurance is the best way to protect your property.
Response to a disaster begins at the local level. Each town, city and county is prepared to assist their citizens immediately during an event. If the disaster uses up all of their resources, county officials can ask the Governor for an emergency declaration. If the Governor agrees, state resources are provided, coordinated by Oregon Emergency Management (OEM), to assist the counties. If the disaster becomes a burden on the state, the Governor may ask the President for a federal declaration.
This is a simplified explanation of the process. There is always a lot of paperwork involved, information must be gathered and rules followed. Unfortunately when the storm hits you, it seems like everything takes forever.
Remember - Your first responders are working diligently to make things safe and secure and your local officials are following procedures to get you the assistance you need. Follow instructions from your local emergency managers and be prepared for the next one – it is still winter.