January 18, 2024
Elisabeth Shepard, Press Secretary to Governor Kotek
Nicole Hoeft, Strategic Communications Director, ODVA
Governor Kotek Declares Statewide Emergency Due To Severe Ice Storm
State of Emergency will support access to federal resources for response and recovery efforts after an ice storm caused widespread infrastructure damages and power outages across the state
Salem, OR – On the evening of January 18, Governor Tina Kotek declared a statewide emergency due to the severe ice storm that impacted counties across the state. This declaration comes following an assessment of needs and subsequent requests from multiple counties as they enter the 6th day of severe impacts as a result of the storm. The declaration will support counties to respond and recover from damages as a result of the storm.
“Thousands of people across the state have been impacted by the storm, including power outages, lack of transportation, and an array of safety concerns that come with severe weather,” Governor Kotek said. “The state has been working with counties as they assess needs, including critical federal resources that can be unlocked by a statewide emergency. I declared a state of emergency in Lane County on Tuesday, and now we are heeding the call from additional counties to escalate.”
Emergency response starts at the local level. As resources are exhausted, cities and counties turn to the state for additional support. Not all resources, such as those the state has been providing since the start of the storm, require a state emergency declaration. The Oregon Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Governor’s Office have been in frequent communication with impacted counties as they continuously assess their needs, anticipate emerging issues, problem-solve, and seek to fill gaps.
State emergency declarations are a critical tool that support counties getting access to federal resources they may be entitled to through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as other resources. Assets include, but are not limited to, federal infrastructure support for highways, telecommunications, and power system recovery, which responders can access more easily with a statewide emergency declaration.
Currently, Multnomah County, Lincoln County, Washington County, Hood River County, and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians have declared a local state of emergency and have been receiving support from the state, including from OEM, the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
In addition, ODHS announced this week that individuals who may have had to throw away food purchased with SNAP benefits due to a power outage or other damage from winter storms may be eligible to replace their benefits. Customers may call 800-699-9075, email email@example.com or provide a written request by mail to ONE Customer Service Center, PO Box 14015, Salem, OR 97309, within 10 days of the loss to inquire.
A full list of warming shelters across the state can be found here. OHA has published resources for winter storms here, and recognizing and avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning here. Oregonians with storm damage can contact the Department of Consumer and Business Services for insurance help and advocacy.