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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces $1 Million for Flood-Damaged Roads and Bridges in Oregon

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

FHWA 04-20

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao late yesterday announced the availability of $1 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds to help repair roads and bridges damaged by flooding throughout north central Oregon. The area, spanning Umatilla, Union and Wallowa counties, is relatively rural, and has limited resources to respond to such a major disaster.

On February 6, heavy rains and snowmelt caused the Umatilla River to flood, causing widespread damage to roads, bridges and homes throughout north central Oregon. Dozens of people were rescued by the Oregon Army National Guard. Because of the rural nature of the impacted counties, there are very few alternate routes available and detours can be very long.

The $1 million in “quick release” funds will be used to reimburse Oregon for the repairs needed on many routes and bridges throughout the region. According to local news reports, repairs are estimated to cost several million dollars and may take months to complete.

“These funds are a critical first step in helping Oregon restore immediate transportation needs for communities in the areas affected by flooding,” said Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason.

These quick-release funds will help reimburse the Oregon Department of Transportation for costs associated with emergency repairs needed to prevent further damage. They are considered a down payment on the costs of short-term repairs while state officials continue damage assessments for long-term repairs.

FHWA’s ER program provides funding for federally eligible highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.

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