Southern Oregonians Wait for Help After Floods

February 2, 2006

The Southern Oregonians whose homes were flooded during recent rainstorms are getting used to waiting.

They’ve got to wait for insurance adjusters to tell them how much they’ll cover for damages, and for investigators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to come to town.

Overall, Jackson County was among the hardest hit in the state during the rainstorms earlier this month, sustaining $5.8 million in damages to 250 homes, businesses and utilities.

Ernie Phillips of Rogue River still has a ruined pile of furniture on his front lawn.

“We’ve got a long way to go here,” said the 73-year-old, who is now living temporarily in his next-door neighbor’s house because his own home is uninhabitable.

FEMA officials are expected in the county around the first part of February.

Shady Cove had the most damage of any city in the county, followed by Rogue River with $346,000.

“We need some assistance,” said George Bostic, Shady Cove public works director. “Small communities like Shady Cove can’t do it on their own.”

Because the city doesn’t have an adequate storm drain system, little creeks and ditches overflowed their banks.

Mayor Dick Bailey said the city had been planning to eventually refurbish Aunt Caroline’s Park, damaged in the flood.

“This might be a blessing in disguise,” he said, expressing hope that FEMA will help in the rebuilding efforts.

As for Phillips, he said the waiting has been frustrating, and he doesn’t believe much has been accomplished since the flooding a month ago. Two contractors have told him it would cost about $100,000 to fix his house.

With help, he was able to get the soggy carpeting and mud-soaked couches out of his house.

He’s even managed to recover some of his belongings that were washed away.

“My garbage can was a quarter-mile down-river at my neighbor’s house,” he said.

Topics Flood

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