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Press Release
December 04, 2007
Oregon's Governor tours coastal towns damaged by widespread flooding
 
Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski and other state officials visited coastal towns in the northwest part of the state hit hard by widespread flooding.

They arrived in Vernonia, Ore., via an Oregon Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, and spoke with residents and town officials affected by heavy rains which pounded the Oregon coast Dec. 2 and 3.

"I will make requests to FEMA, and get a hold of a Congressional delegation, because (recovery efforts) will be ongoing," the governor said, during a press conference held at the Oregon Army National Guard aviation facility following the group's return to Salem.

The Governor said that the National Weather Service greatly underestimated the impact of the storm, leaving many residents on Oregon's coast unprepared for the heavy rains.

"Most people I talked to in Vernonia said their concern wasn't the wind, but the flood waters," Kulongoski said.

Both the Governor, and Brig. Gen. Mike Caldwell, Deputy Director, State Affairs for the Oregon National Guard, lauded the quick response of local and state agencies. They pointed to the recent inter-agency emergency exercise, TOPOFF 4, held in mid-October, in helping prepare rescue and relief agencies for such a disaster.

The Oregon National Guard in particular, said the governor, is very good at conducting relief efforts.

"But now we're doing a great job at recovery," he added.

Department of Transportation official, Lucinda M. Moore, said Hwy 26 and Hwy 18 are scheduled to reopen later today. Hwy 47 remains closed just north of Vernonia due to downed trees.

The Governor vowed to help communities affected by flood damage by, "… bringing every resource of the state to bear."

Several Oregon National Guard units are currently dispersed throughout the hardest-hit communities on the Oregon coast, helping with relief efforts.

Photo: 

071204-F-1639C-0113.JPG: The coastal town of Vernonia, Ore., was hard hit by heavy rains Dec. 2 and 3. Oregon Governor Theodore Kulongoski reviewed the damage from an Oregon Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter on Dec. 4. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office)

071204-F-1639C-0169.JPG: Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski looks over flood damage to Vernonia Middle School, Dec. 4, 2007. The town of Vernonia, along with several other small communities along the Oregon coast were inundated by heavy rains Dec. 2 and 3. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office)

071204-F-1639C-0177.JPG: Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski, looks over flood damage at Washington Elementary School in Vernonia, Ore., Dec. 4, 2007. Several coastal towns were damaged by floods caused by heavy rains Dec. 2 and 3, prompting state officials to declare a state of emergency. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office)

071204-F-1639C-0200.JPG: One of the streets in Vernonia, Ore., sits under several feet of water, Dec. 4, 2007, following heavy rains the night before. Many residents of Vernonia and other coastal towns were left homeless after floods caused widespread power outtages, and damage to buildings and homes there. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office)

071204-F-1639C-0228.JPG: Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski, walks through the house of Mark and Karin Baer, whose house was damaged by flood waters, Dec. 4, 2007. Many homes and businesses including the Baer's was damaged during floods caused by heavy rains which hit the Oregon coast Dec. 2 and 3, promting officials to declare a state of emergency. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office)
 
 
Contact Info:
 
Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office
503-584-3917
or
503-931-5179