City & Government, Cottage Grove

Update: Ice storm damages, repairs cost Cottage Grove $3 million

COTTAGE GROVE – The final tally is in, and January’s ice storm cost the City a total of $2,926,508.14, according to public works and development director Faye Stewart.

This dollar amount includes city staff pay, administration cost to date, city equipment operating expenses, contract expenses, back up power generation expenses, and supplies such as gas, rock, etc.

Since President Joe Biden approved federal disaster assistance to local governments on a cost sharing basis for recovery from the storm damage on April 15, city staff has formally requested assistance. Stewart said the City should be eligible for 75% of the nearly $3 million to be reimbursed.

He added that the Grove lost five community members to the ice storm either from house fires or carbon monoxide poisoning and that the hospital said it treated at least 30 people from the surrounding areas for an injury or health-related cause that was directly related to the ice storm.

“A good majority of those were carbon monoxide poisoning, where they had to help people deal with that. There were heart issues. There were also broken bones,” Stewart said. “Because of the situation with the freeway being closed, the ambulance wasn’t able to transfer folks to the metro area hospital, so a lot of the people that had to be seen by specialists to reset bones were luckily able to be taken care of at the (local) hospital.”

Stewart recommended community members who were personally impacted by the ice storm contact Lane County’s new emergency manager Tiffany Brown to discuss what may be available for private citizens because the FEMA reimbursements are solely intended for government entities like the City of Cottage Grove or Lane County.

Councilor Mike Fleck gave city staff kudos on stepping up in a trying time before motioning for council to rescind the declaration of emergency originally declared Jan. 13 for the ice storm. This motion passed unanimously per the recommendation of city staff.

Stewart said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told city staff that they “did an excellent job in the documentation and where we’ve set the City up to seek reimbursement. In fact, they said they would probably like to use this as a model for other cities.”

“We were a shining star, according to FEMA, on how we addressed this storm,” Stewart said.



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