The federal delegation toured the temporary shelter at the Jackson County Expo and toured the devastation left behind by the Almeda Fire.
“I’ve never seen anything like that in my life, to see it in real life, and to realize the hardship behind this. The loss that people have endured, the shock they must be in… it just rips you apart,” said U.S. Congressman Greg Walden.
“We have the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu, we have the worst economy since the Great Depression, what more can life bring? Well, here it is, smoke for 300 miles,” said Senator Jeff Merkley.
The delegation met with survivors and said help is coming.
The ‘Federal Emergency Management Agency’ [or FEMA] assistance has already been approved by the government.
“We got the emergency declaration yesterday, so that’s really to give people the tools to survive,” said Senator Ron Wyden.
The group says in all, FEMA approved 13 grants for fire management assistance.
They say 15 trucks will also arrive on Monday, bringing everyday supplies.
“They are providing reimbursements under the emergency declaration for removing debris and wreckage, and for the work done in an effort to save lives and property – this is kind of phase 1 of the emergency declaration,” said Senator Merkley.
Even in 2020, when partisan politics are seemingly everywhere, the two Democratic senators and the Republican congressman are in agreement – we will re-build.
“We are southern Oregon strong, we will rise from these ashes and we will re-build,” said Representative Walden.
Later in the afternoon the group toured the damage in Phoenix and Talent and met with first responders.
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology.
In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she’s not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.