FEMA inspectors conclude HR work


News staff writer

February 7, 2007

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials wrapped up site visits last week to Hood River County.

They examined flooding damages from Nov. 5-8. Those events affected 14 sites in the county. In the end, four entities applied for federal disaster relief monies: two irrigation districts, Farmers and Middle Fork, Ice Fountain Water District, and Hood River County.

Public Works Director Don Wiley said the county applied for two small projects. One was for $4,500 for general debris cleanup and the second was for $5,000 for shoulder repair.

Snowfall on Middle Fork Irrigation District extended one deadline until the fall. Manager Dave Compton said it was simply not possible for them to fully assess their damages while FEMA officials were here in January.

“We just couldn’t get down to look at the effect on all of our penstock (steel) line,” Compton said.

So far, MFID has incurred $480,000 in damages that does not include work on its Eliot Branch Diversion project or permanently fixing roads. Compton said the district has roughed in roads to Coe and Eliot but they need more work once spring thaw comes. Replacing the Eliot Diversion requires MFID to go through a federal National Environmental Protection Act process with the U.S. Forest Service, which it began meeting about last week.

“They have to decide if they can do it in-house or if it has to be contracted out,” Compton said. “We need to have that (Eliot) up and running; it represents 25 percent to one-third of our water.”

Compton estimated the cost for the Eliot project would run between $150,000 to $200,000.

FID Manager Jerry Bryan said Farmers began fully diverting water more than a week ago to its generators after making temporary repairs to its flume along the Hood River. He said the company’s insurance claim has reached just above $1 million, its FEMA application totals $600,000 and the company is applying for $500,000 in mitigation relief money.

“While snow did not hold us up, we did get held up variously by high water and cold temperatures,” Bryan said.

Ice Fountain Manager Mark Beam said the totals for their work have reached $118,355.17 so far with permanent repairs estimated at $548,000. The district still needs to cable down riprap, remove debris from the spring box, fence, put in mitigation measures for the state plus inject chemical grout to stop leaks.

“We are losing a lot of water back out into the Hood River,” Beam said.

The Port of Hood River chose not to apply for damages following a second site visit with FEMA. Director Michael McElwee said that it was determined that no damages occurred to port property that would be eligible for federal assistance.

Project work sheets are now in the review process. Some agencies are still filling out more paperwork to qualify for future mitigation money.

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