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December 14, 2015 12:00 PM, EST

Oregon, Washington Receive Federal Emergency Funds for Storm Cleanup

WSDOT
The Federal Highway Administration has made $2 million in emergency relief funds available to the transportation departments in Oregon and Washington in the wake of the string of severe storms that began in the Pacific Northwest on Dec. 7.

Emergency relief funding will help these two states continue their recovery from the extensive damage caused by this storm,” Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “We want residents of the Pacific Northwest to know that we understand how important it is to get these roads open so life there can return to normal as soon as possible.”

High winds and significant rain in western Washington caused major flooding and landslides that knocked out more than 40 miles of U.S. 12 near White Pass. Parts of Interstate-90 near North Bend and I-5 near Woodland also were shut down.

The storms brought rainfall of up to 18 inches in Oregon during the first three days. The resulting flooding, landslide and sinkholes damaged the state’s infrastructure, with I-84 closed east of La Grande and U.S. 101 closed near Wheeler.

According to DOT, preliminary damages are estimated at $15 million in Oregon and $5 million in Washington.

Each state will receive $1 million in “quick release” funds to begin repairs, continue damage assessments and begin to restore traffic to normal.

“Both states should know that the funds provided today are only a down payment toward completing the many other repairs to the highways that the region’s thousands of residents and travelers rely heavily upon this time of year,” Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau said in a statement. “Additional resources will become available as the state continues to assess the damage.”