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Almeda Fire News (View All)

Almeda Fire Updates Still Available

Jackson County EOC is still providing frequent updates regarding the Almeda Fire and recovery. You can find these updates and other information from FEMA here.

Below is the 10/19 EOC Update from Jackson County. 

10/19 General Updates

EOC Sit Report can be found here

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Application Deadline Approaching - Disaster survivors who have lost work as a direct result of the Oregon wildfires since Sept. 7 may be  eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). DUA is funded by FEMA and administered by the Oregon Employment Department. The purpose of DUA is to help workers whose primary incomes have been lost or interrupted by a federally declared disaster. It differs from regular state unemployment insurance because it also provides benefits to people who are self-employed, farmers, loggers and employees who work on commission. In addition, it helps those who are unable to reach their place of employment or are unable to work because of an injury as a direct result of the fires.  The deadline to file a claim is Oct. 23, 2020.  To apply, go to www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/Disaster, or call 503-570-5000 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Registrations:  IMPORTANT! For any who have suffered a loss from this event, key to getting the process started is registering for assistance from FEMA at: https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or call 1-800-621-3362.  PLEASE NOTE:  Compared to the number of citizens impacted by this event, our registrations with FEMA continue to be low. This can impact our ability at receiving future funding and housing assistance so please help us get the word out to register.

Fire Debris Cleanup

Household Hazards Waste:  The US EPA strike team and their contractors have started to remove the household hazardous waste from all burned properties.  The state is picking up the 25% cost share to complete this work and there will be no cost to local governments or private property owners for this work.  Property owners that have questions about EPA’s removal of household hazardous waste can call a dedicated question and answer phone number at 541-225-5549. The phone will operate from 8:00AM to 8:00PM, seven days a week, and will be offered in both English and Spanish.

Right of Entry’s:  Before government contractors can enter onto private property, a Right of Entry (ROE) form will have to be provided by the property owner.  Of the 970 ROE forms mailed to property owners, Jackson County has received back 867, so we have a great start to this process. Also, of the 18 mobile home parks, we have received ROE’s from 16 of them.  The County has also extended the deadline to submit a ROE form from October 15, 2020 to October 23, 2020.  Forms have been mailed to every property owner and they are also available at www.jacksoncounty.org/ROE, they can be picked at the MARC’s, and hard copies can also be completed, scanned and emailed back.  If property owners have questions on the Right of Entry form, they can call 1-682-800-5737 for assistance.  Is the State/Feds Going to Take Insurance Money From Property Owners to Cleanup, Resulting in Less Money to Rebuild?  This continues to be an issue and a point of contention that has been clarified.  The government will not take insurance money designated for rebuilding. No federal, state or local agency will recoup money from your insurance that would have otherwise gone toward rebuilding your home. 

Large Clean up (Ash and Trash):  The State Debris Management Task Force is continuing to refine their options for the large clean up.  More details are needed, but right now the county is favoring what is called “Option 2” where the state will hire and manage the contractors to complete this work in a single coordinated approach.

Cities and County Continue to Recommend Not Completing Self Cleanup – Jackson County and the Cities of Phoenix and Talent continue to recommend that property owners do not attempt to clean up their properties themselves.  We are seeing and hearing of a few instances of property cleanups which clearly do not meet state and federal requirements for hazardous material handling and cleanup and could result in work having to be redone or potential enforcement action by regulatory agencies.  A single coordinated approach is being developed and this approach will avoid blight, help maintain property values and ensure the cleanup will be in compliance with Federal and State regulations. 

Self-Directed Cleanup –If property owners choose to take this issue on through their own efforts or via their insurance provider, which they are allowed to do, they will need to make sure they or their contractor is following all EPA and DEQ requirements.  Before any fire debris are taken off site, consultation with the local solid waste transfer station, landfill or recycling / scrap materials facility should be completed. 

Housing

There are three phases to this process:

Phase 1 is the “Sheltering” phase and deals with the immediate sheltering needs of those impacted (the next 30-60 days).  This need was initially met by the evacuation center at the EXPO, by non-profits, churches, motels and the largest number by friends and family.  A Sheltering Task Force has been formed, is meeting and considerable effort on this front continues.  As of today, Red Cross was housing 543 individuals in 19 different hotels.  Additionally, Red Cross is housing 86 additional individuals at the Southern Oregon  RV Park and at the EXPO.  American Red Cross has a contract with the State of Oregon to provide these services through Dec. 31, 2020.

Phase 2 is the Transitional Housing Phase and deals with the housing needs from the end of Phase 1 to when permanent housing is rebuilt and established.  A Regional Wildfire Recovery Housing Taskforce has been formed and is meeting and considerable work continues from both the private and public sectors.  The approval of the FEMA Direct Housing Assistance mission to Jackson County will aid the county in this effort.  Kelly Madding, with the City of Medford is continuing to chair this taskforce.   

Phase 3 is the ultimate rebuilding of the communities and detailed work on this phase will be forthcoming.

Greenway

Areal reseeding of the Bear Creek Greenway started today in the Central Point area and will be continuing to the south tomorrow.  This work is being done with helicopters and they are dropping 40,000 lbs of a rapidly growing grass and herb seed mixture that will help stabilize the greenway.  

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