PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Oregon due to the coronavirus outbreak. The declaration orders federal assistance to aid state, tribal and local recovery efforts. The order is back-dated to Jan. 20 and Oregon now makes 18 states with disaster declarations. Early Sunday, the Oregon health department said the state has had 548 people test positive for COVID-19.

Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released this video statement after President Trump approved Oregon’s request for a disaster declaration. The announcement comes just days after Walden joined the rest of the Oregon Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to President Trump asking for a disaster declaration for the state.

Governor Kate Brown today issued the following statement on the White House’s disaster declaration for Oregon:

“This declaration is an important first step towards unlocking all available federal resources for Oregon’s state, tribal, and local response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I appreciate the responsiveness of Vice President Pence and federal administration officials to our requests for aid.

“However, this is far from everything Oregon needs from the federal government to actively and effectively combat this crisis. We have a number of significant requests pending with the federal government, first and foremost Oregon’s request for more personal protective equipment from the national stockpile.

“In addition, a significant part of our disaster declaration request was for individual assistance for all Oregon counties and tribes—including child care assistance, crisis counseling, disaster case management, disaster legal services, and disaster unemployment assistance for Oregonians. That request is still also pending, and would provide significant relief to Oregon families if approved.

“This is an unprecedented public health crisis that demands a coordinated national response, backed by the full resources of the federal government. I will continue to work with the White House and Oregon’s congressional delegation to fight for access to every tool available to keep Oregonians safe from COVID-19.”

Today’s Major Disaster Declaration by President Trump for the State of Oregon, retroactive to January 20, 2020, allows for the activation of FEMA’s Public Assistance program for reimbursements of emergency actions taken by state, territorial, tribal, and local government entities, as well as certain non-profit organizations.

Organizations eligible for recovery efforts on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures include, but are not limited to:
• Management, control and reduction of immediate threats to public health and safety;
• Emergency operation and coordination costs;
• Disinfection of eligible public facilities;
• Medical sheltering;
• Purchase and distribution of food, water, medicine and other consumable supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment.

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