Dec 05,2007 00:00
Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski and other state officials on Tuesday visited coastal towns in the northwest part of the state hit hard by widespread flooding.
"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 Highway 26 and Highway 18 were scheduled to reopen later Tuesday. Highway 47 remained 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 dispersed throughout the hardest-hit communities on the Oregon coast, helping with relief efforts.