Residents have been encouraged to submit access agreements to allow cleanup teams to begin removal of hazardous materials from burned properties, county officials said.

Oregon’s Debris Management Task Force leaders have urged residents to Right of Entry forms. Removal of hazardous waste is the first step in the wildfire cleanup process and available at no cost to property owners. 

Prioritized due to the immediate threat to health, safety and the environment, hazardous waste cleanup is paid for by the state government and FEMA in Lane, Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties.

Each of these counties have begun collecting Right of Entry forms. Right of Entry forms were due to counties by Oct. 16, and must be signed before free hazardous waste removal can occur. 

These are simple forms that require only your name, address and insurance information if you have insurance.

Links to each county’s Right of Entry fillable and/or printable form are available at wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup. There is also a Right of Entry helpline with assistance available in English and Spanish at 1-682-800-5737.

The second step in cleanup is ash and debris removal. After this step is complete, property owners will be able to begin rebuilding. State, county and federal partners are developing funding and implementation options for Step 2: Ash and debris removal. 

State officials will not recoup money from your insurance that could have otherwise gone to rebuilding your home. Residents have shared concerns that signing a Right of Entry for hazardous waste removal will allow the state to take money from property owners’ insurance. This is not true. 

Household hazardous waste and debris removal can cost $75,000 or more. If you choose to complete cleanup yourself, the cost may take away from funds that could otherwise go toward rebuilding your home.

Disasters can provide opportunities for criminals. State officials encourage residents to be skeptical of anyone promising immediate cleanup and debris removal, and be wary of people who quote outrageous prices or demand payment upfront.

Research all contractors, verify they have an active license and check their complaint history through the Construction Contractors Board at ccb.state.or.us/search. Never pay by wire transfer, gift card, cash, or by signing over an insurance check. And never make the final payment until the work is done.

Don’t give into pressure from your insurance company to settle. Call the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation at 1-888-877-4894 or visit dfr.oregon.gov for information. These resources are here to help protect you and your family.