Jackson County EOC Fire Update – Sept. 25, 2020

Resource and Recovery

MARC – The MARC, the Multi-Agency Resource Center, opened on Thursday and got off to a great start.  We have served several hundred impacted citizens thus far.  This one-stop shop for resources includes FEMA representatives, Insurance Providers, Red Cross, Cities and others and is located at Central High School at 815 S. Oakdale in Medford.  Visitors to the MARC should park in the lot on Kenyon Street near Spiegelberg Stadium.  The MARC will be open seven days a week from 8AM – 8PM until further notice.  In addition to the MARC, FEMA representatives will be available at the Phoenix Civic Center (220 N. Main St.) and the Talent Elementary School (307 W. Wagner St.) during the same hours.  Lastly, FEMA representatives will also be at White Mountain Middle School in White City this Saturday between 10AM-1PM.

Damage Assessment Dashboard – We are excited to announce that the Jackson County EOC has completed a publicly accessible damage dashboard.  This interactive mapping tool will allow anyone with internet access to quickly locate and view the extent of damage to individual properties.  This dashboard is accessible at www.jacksoncounty.org/damagedashboard.

Damage Assessment Totals – The preliminary damage assessment (PDA) has been completed by the local multi-jurisdictional team.   

The following totals will still change as the data is perfected, but currently we are reporting the following:

3,590 Structures were reviewed

2,487 Residential properties were destroyed

 102 Residential properties were damaged

 164 Commercial properties were destroyed

   24 Commercial properties were damaged

IMPORTANT:  For any who have suffered a loss from this event, key to getting the process started is registering for assistance from FEMA at: https://www.disasterassistance.gov/. 

Fire Debris Cleanup

The following message was received today from the Oregon Debris Management Task Force which is leading the cleanup effort for the state.

Thank you to all the counties that we have talked with already, while we determine the next steps for cleaning up debris.  If you haven’t heard from us yet, you will.  We know your communities are looking to you for answers and we are working to keep you informed about the process as it evolves.  As a reminder, Oregon has the Category B approval and we can begin Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) mitigation efforts.  Oregon has not been approved for Category A – Debris Removal yet, that is anticipated in early October.

The first priority is HHW and the state has used Direct Federal Assistance to engage the US EPA to conduct this HHW assessment and clearance for all impacted.  It will be 2-3 weeks before the US EPA has “boots on the ground” as they mobilize their crews and contractors – the actual HHW work is anticipated to take 30-60 days, dependent on access rights.  We’d like to confirm that for HHW, the state is committing to funding the 25% cost share with FEMA.

After discussions with the Department of Justice (DOJ) we feel that it is in the best interest of the impacted people to request individual access agreements or commonly called Right of Entry (ROE).  We are working to set up a platform and process for collecting the rights of entry (ROE). OEM’s contractor, AC Disaster Consulting, will be sending staff out to the counties early next week to support collection of access agreements in all impacted communities that are eligible for public assistance.

Finally, we know this a very challenging time for everyone as we work on all that it takes to recover from this unprecedented disaster in our State – and as we all learn what it takes to do this work right and recover the FEMA funding at the end.

This is a good first step and we appreciate the state picking up the 25% cost share and the leadership they are providing.  As noted previously, we are expecting the Governor to make a Category A request to FEMA shortly, but until that is approved, any work completed to clean fire debris may not be reimbursable.  We hope to have more solid guidance on this issue of debris cleanup shortly.

If property owners choose to take this issue on through their own efforts or via their insurance provider, which they are allowed to do, they will need to make sure they or their contractor is following all EPA and DEQ requirements.  See the above attachment and the following link https://www.oregon.gov/deq/wildfires/Pages/After-the-Fire.aspx for instructions regarding fire debris removal.  Lastly, before any fire debris are taken off site, consultation with the local solid waste transfer station, landfill or recycling / scrap materials facility should be completed.  

Evacuation Center

The evacuation center on the EXPO grounds, which was established on the day of the fire, continues to provide shelter, food, and showers for the approximately 200 citizens.  Red Cross has assumed control and oversight of the center.  Utilization of the center at night is still increasing.

Federal Support (FEMA) Status and Resources 

Individuals & Households Assistance

• Program Status to Date (Subject to Change)

2,343 Individuals & Households have registered in Jackson County

Public Infrastructure Damage Assessment Process 

The County is the lead on a multi-jurisdictional team to complete the public infrastructure damage assessment process using the approved FEMA process and that effort started 9/16 and is due to the County today (9/25) for submission to the State and FEMA. Please contact the Jackson County Emergency Manager if you have any questions: BeltSA@jacksoncounty.org. 

Shelter & Evacuation Center 

The Expo Location 

Responsibility: Shelter operated by Red Cross

Location: Jackson County Expo Phone: 541-774-8270 Address: 1 Peninger Road Central Point, OR 

Citizens Utilizing: Approximately 237 

Services: Shelter, food, shower, laundry 

Phoenix Location 

Responsibility: Red Cross 

Location: Phoenix Elementary School Address: 215 N. Rose St, Phoenix, OR

By John Vial, Director

Jackson County Emergency Operations Center – Almeda / Obenchain Fires

(541) 621-4641


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