Economic recovery council created in wake of Oregon wildfire devastation

Wildfires

Gov. Kate Brown toured some of the wildfire destruction in Marion County, September 16, 2020 (Gov. Brown office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has assembled a Wildfire Economic Recovery Council in light of the recent wildfires that have ravaged the state.

In a press release on Tuesday morning, Brown said she has convened the council in order to “evaluate the economic and community needs of Oregonians statewide” following the devastating wildfire season. This announcement comes after Brown toured the Clackamas County wildfires area Monday, both on the ground and in the air to get a better look at the devastation.

The council will work to gather resources and develop economic recovery plans for those affected. Their work will especially focus on those disproportionately hit — such as communities of color, rural, and low-income Oregonians.

More than a million acres have burned in numerous counties, destroying homes, businesses and other structures, after a Labor Day windstorm resulted in perfect conditions for wildfires to spark and spread across the state. Nine people were killed, and nine others remain missing.

“So many Oregonians lost everything in these fires. With over a million acres burned and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed, the impacts of this wildfire season will be felt on jobs and local economies long after it ends,” Brown said. “While my Disaster Cabinet continues to focus on the immediate wildfire response and relief efforts, this council will prioritize economic recovery for impacted communities.”

The council will be spearheaded by Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle and State Treasurer Tobias Read, who will be co-chairs.

“Communities all over the state need help to recover from these wildfires. I had to evacuate due to the Holiday Farm Fire, but I was one of the lucky ones who got to come home,” Hoyle said. “Many challenges lie ahead in the coming months. We need a clear, collaborative plan to bring all levels of government together with local businesses, workers, and non-profits to rebuild the homes and economies that have been devastated. I want to thank Governor Brown for appointing Treasurer Read and I to lead this council. I’m ready to get to work.”

The council is expected to complete it’s initial work by the end of the year, according to the press release.

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