ONTARIO, ORE. - The governors of Oregon and Idaho toured the devastation along state borders Friday.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown got a firsthand look at some of the structure and agriculture building collapses due to snow and ice. Officials estimate repairs will top $100 million.
Brown says during her time in Oregon she has never seen anything like this. She likened the damage to something a tornado would have caused.
Brown acknowledged the community is hurting and says she will be pushing state agencies to get creative in ways to help to expedite recovery experts.
“It's getting the engineering folks out here to do an assessment, so folks have a clear picture of what the economic damage is, for their insurance, or if they don't have insurance other federal programs that may be available,” said Brown.
They also took a helicopter flight to see the devastating effects of flooding on the region.
The governors said they will be working together to get as much state and federal assistance on the ground as possible.
Gov. Otter and Lt. Gov. Brad Little, along with other state officials, were in Payette this morning as the governor held his Capitol for a Day event. Residents are feeling the brunt of this unusual winter and came out to voice their concerns.
Both governors acknowledged how the onion industry is suffering. Millions of pounds of onions have been lost. And for farmers in the area, it will be hard to recover from those losses.
Rebuilding and recovery was the main topic of conversation today.
“As we can see on the Oregon side and the Idaho side we've lost an awful lot of capital assets, and we had the SBA (Small Business Administration) here today. Already talked to the Department of Agriculture for how we can get reconstructed and back underway because we got the next year of agriculture coming at us," said Otter.
The governors plan to work closely together to get back capital assists lost, continue to clear snow off threatened structures, and how to dispose of thousands of perished onions.
State officials say the main goal is to get them ready for the harvest season next fall.
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