May 13, 2009

FEMA Agrees to Delay Eviction of Vernonia Residents from Trailers

Washington, D.C. - In a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, the Federal Emergency Management Agency today agreed to give Vernonia families left homeless by a December 2007 flood an additional four months to stay in their FEMA-provided trailers.

FEMA was planning to evict the families on June 8, but in a letter sent last Thursday to Dennis Hunsinger, FEMA deputy administrator for Region X, Wyden requested a delay to give the families more time to finish rebuilding. In a response to Wyden, Hunsinger said an extension to October 8, 2009, would be appropriate.

"FEMA deserves a lot of credit for doing the right thing for the families of Vernonia who are still working hard to put their lives back together following the flood," Wyden said. "Now those families have a little more of what they need most - time to continue picking up the pieces."

Under FEMA regulations, there is an 18-month limit on the use of the trailers. The period began in December 2007 when the disaster declaration was signed and ends on June 8 of this year. However, the trailers did not arrive in Vernonia until April 2008.

The December 2007 flood damaged three of Vernonia's school buildings, destroyed the wastewater treatment ponds and ruined more than 220 homes inside the city and an equal number outside the city limits.