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Governor Gregoire Announces Partnership to Repair December Windstorm-Damaged Public Facilities

For Immediate Release: February 22, 2007

OLYMPIA - Governor Chris Gregoire has signed an agreement that forms a partnership between Washington and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to administer federal disaster assistance for the December 14-15 windstorm.

“Washington and FEMA will work together to ensure that federal disaster assistance will repair the large number of public facilities damaged in the storms,” said Governor Gregoire. “We will also be able to repay local and state agencies that incurred major costs responding to the emergency and removing debris.”

Governor Gregoire requested a federal disaster declaration on January 11 after surveys found an estimated $47 million in eligible public facility damage from rain, wind and saturated soils during the storms of December 14 - 15. Signed by President Bush February 14, the declaration will provide significant aid for public facilities in Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, King, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston and Wahkiakum counties.

Types of public facility damage and costs that could be eligible for federal disaster aid include debris removal, emergency protective measures, damages to non-federal road systems and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and equipment, public utilities, parks and recreational facilities.

The declaration includes hazard mitigation funding for all 39 counties in Washington to eliminate or lessen the impact of future disasters. Federal assistance for individual homeowners and small business owners was not requested because the vast majority of eligible damages were covered by insurance. Individuals who have emergency needs from the storm should contact their local officials and voluntary agencies for assistance.

Small business owners affected by the windstorms should report economic damages to the emergency management agency in their county soon, if they have not already done so. If enough small business economic damage is documented, additional assistance may be made available in the form of low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.