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Emergency Permits
Within the context of the Removal-Fill Law, an emergency is a natural or human-caused circumstance that poses an immediate threat to public health, safety or substantial property, including cropland. If the actions necessary to alleviate the threat involve 50 cubic yards or more of removal or fill below a waterway’s ordinary high water elevation or in wetlands (or any amount of removal or fill in designated Essential Salmon Habitat (ESH) or a State Scenic Waterway (SSW), a DSL permit is required and may be authorized as an expedited emergency permit (EP).
DSL applies all of the following considerations to assess whether an activity in wetlands or a waterway is eligible for an Emergency Permit (EP):
  • Does the nature of the threat allow enough time to obtain some other form of permit or is prompt action required to reduce or eliminate the threat?
  • Does the emergency pose a direct threat to public health or safety or substantial property, including but not limited to a dwelling, transportation structure, farm or cropland?
  • Is the propose​d project the minimal amount necessary to reduce or eliminate the threat and does it minimize, to the extent practicable, adverse impacts to waters of this state?
Procedure for Obtaining an Emergency Permit:
Step 1: The applicant must collect information including location; nature and cause of the threat; the condition of the waterway; and what action is necessary to alleviate the immediate threat. Remedial actions must be limited to what is necessary to make repairs or prevent irreparable harm, injury or damage to persons or property.
Step 2: Contact DSL to initiate the EP process.
During Business Hours: 503-986-5200 (west of the Cascades)
541-388-6112 (east of the Cascades)
  After Business Hours: ​Oregon Emergency Response: 1-800-452-0311
Step 3: Submit the EP application materials as directed by the DSL Resource Coordinator and as time allows. If time allows, DSL may conduct a site visit or ask another designated agency to do so.
Step 4: Qualifying activities will be issued a written permit as soon as key information is provided. DSL can issue a verbal approval in advance of the written approval where it is necessary to protect public health, safety or property.
After the emergency, DSL staff may visit the site upon completion of the emergency work, and may require that the project be modified after the initial emergency work is completed or require mitigation to compensate for any impacts to the affected wetland or waterway. A subsequent permit may be required to conduct remedial work.
Removal-Fill Guide: Chapter 7 – Emergency Permits
Removal-Fill Guide