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Feb-19-2008 17:45TweetFollow @OregonNews
Oregon Communities Still Recovering from December StormsSalem-News.com
The state economic development agency acquires several federal waivers, making it easier for Oregonians in need to access federal dollars for disaster recovery.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - The Oregon Economic and Community Development Department (OECDD) is coordinating with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to bypass certain regulations to speed aid to people who suffered damage from the December storms in northwest Oregon, OECDD director Bob Repine said today.
Repine said the waivers apply to the federally funded Community Development Block Grant program for 2008.
"We are continuing to help Oregonians affected by the storm," Repine said. "We are looking at every state and federal resource we have, and then taking steps to speed those funds to the people who need them."
The waivers reduce certain public processes from weeks to days, and halves from two to one the number of pre-application hearings needed. They also let the state fund disaster-related emergency projects in anticipation of receiving the 2008 annual allocation from HUD.
Additionally, the waivers allow grant funds to be used to buy equipment previously not covered. An increase in state administration funds will enable state staff to spend more time in the affected communities identifying projects for funding.
HUD also will allow OECDD to use up to 25 percent of Oregon's $14.1 million 2008 Community Development Block Grant allocation for these emergency projects.
"The waivers will make the Community Development Block Grant program more flexible to meet emergency needs," Repine, the OECDD director, explained. "For example, applications can be expedited and completed in a matter of days.
"Furthermore, the waivers enable cities and counties to apply for funds to purchase emergency equipment such as generators and pumps, acquisitions not normally allowed using CDBG funding."
Awards from the Community Development Block Grant program support a variety of local projects and services aimed at improving livability for citizens with low to moderate incomes.
A copy of the proposed CDBG program's Method of Distribution, including changes enabled by the waivers, can be viewed on OECDD's web site at econ.oregon.gov.
Oregon Economic and Community Development Department
The Oregon Economic and Community Development Department provides economic, community and cultural enhancement throughout the state. The Department administers programs that assist businesses, communities and people. Oregon's economic development system serves the state's changing economy, provides flexibility in funding statewide and regional needs, and focuses on funding economic and community development services for rural and distressed communities. Visit oregon4biz.com for more information on doing business in Oregon.
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