After an unprecedented flood swept through Umatilla County on Friday, the flood waters receded almost as quickly as they came.
What won’t be as quick is the clean-up and repair process after the floods.
Umatilla County is asking for people impacted by the floods to report all damage by Thursday at noon, submitting time-stamped photos and notes of the damage to their insurance company and then through the county’s website at https://tinyurl.com/w4838tq.
“It’s extremely important that our community members assist each other in getting damage reports submitted,” Umatilla County Undersheriff Jim Littlefield said in a news release. “If your neighbor doesn’t have internet access, or has a hard time getting around, walk over there with your mobile phone. Take some photos and use the website to walk them through the process.”
The information submitted to the county may not result in a direct payment to the person sending the report, but the overall information will be used to demonstrate the scope of the area’s needs to state and federal agencies such as FEMA that could provide financial assistance for disaster relief.
The cities of Echo and Stanfield are also urging residents to call or stop by city hall to report damage and receive a packet of information about where and how to ask for financial assistance or volunteer labor to assist in cleanup. Echo City Hall is 541-376-8411 and the City of Stanfield can be reached at 541-449-3831.
On Friday, Echo city administrator David Slaght gave kudos to Echo Community Church and Echo School District for their assistance in making sure displaced residents have food, water, bedding and shelter. He also praised Echo Rural Fire Department and others who evacuated people from their homes before the floods hit.
“I believe many lives were saved,” he said.
He posted on Facebook Tuesday that there were volunteers ready to assist people with cleanup of their property, if people ask at city hall for assistance. Dumpsters for flood-damaged materials are set up beside city hall and between Thielsen Street and the railroad tracks.
A webpage with flood information and resources county-wide has been set up on the county’s website, co.umatilla.or.us, and updates will continue to be posted to the Facebook page of the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office.
For those looking to donate, the county said Community Action Plan of East Central Oregon (CAPECO) is collecting donations for all of Umatilla County via PayPal on their website, while the Blue Mountain Community Foundation is collecting donations in the Milton-Freewater area through www.bluemountainfoundation.org.
Pendleton Salvation Army is handing out “cleaning kits” of mops, garbage bags and other supplies to area residents, and vouchers for clothing at their store.
Echo Community Church is collecting donations of cleaning supplies such as shovels and rubber gloves, and Altrusa International of Hermiston took a load of supplies over to them on Tuesday. Desert Rose Ministries in Hermiston is also looking to assist homeless families that were reportedly displaced by the flooding in the Oxbow area.
The Red Cross has also been assisting in cleanup, and people can earmark donations at www.redcross.com to stay in the region. More than 100 volunteers showed up Sunday and Monday to assist in cleaning up the hard-hit Riverside neighborhood in Pendleton, and people wishing to assist in cleanup efforts there and other heavily damaged areas this week should visit the Red Cross shelter set up at the Pendleton Convention Center.