Local Residents Waiting for FEMA Flood Help

February 1, 2012

By Lauren Mickler

NOTI, Ore. — FEMA is coming to town to take a closer look at flood damages and evaluate whether Lane County deserves a presidential emergency declaration.

The in-depth evaluation process is just beginning and while the county waits for help, so do residents.

Reports show only about 200 households registered flood damages with Lane County. The Blains in Noti are one of them, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be getting any government help.

“I’m in the process of fixing the roof and they pulled all the carpet out, so that has to be re-done,” said George Blain.

Two weeks after the floods, Blain is only beginning his long list of post-flood chores.

One chore he checked off his list this weekend was registering his flood damage with Lane County.

“I registered primarily because I knew they needed the numbers to declare disaster area,” Blain said.

His damages were sent to FEMA with the rest of Lane County’s.

County officials hope the numbers will prompt federal assistance. Yet even if FEMA delivers, Blain says unless they’re giving money away, he can’t afford government help.

“If the low-cost government loans help somebody else, I know it won’t help me because I can’t afford to pay back a loan,” Blain said.

Low-interest disaster loans are one of the three main forms of FEMA disaster aid Lane County residents could be eligable for, along with housing for displaced flood victims or grants that can help with damages not covered by insurance.

But Lane County says a lot has to be done before any of these programs are put on the table yet. Blain says he has to rely on other ways to recover.

Outside of insurance, Blain says his neighbors have been very generous, but a lot of this process will be a one-man-job.

“The outpouring of help has been tremendous, but the responsibility is still mine, and we’ll get it done. It just takes longer and costs more,” Blain said.

Like most flood victims, the Blains still have a lot to do, and they say whether with help or alone, they hope to get things back in order by summer.

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