Storm that dumped golf ball-sized hail on Wallowa prompts Gov. Kate Brown to request $2 million for recovery

In early August, eastern Oregon saw a powerful storm packing golf ball-sized hail that left extensive damage to property and cars, and Gov. Kate Brown is now asking the Legislature for $2 million to help the residents of Wallowa recover.

“This community has been left reeling,” Brown said in a letter to lawmakers Thursday.

The storm traveled from the west towards Wallowa on Aug. 11, with some hail reported as large as golf balls and even baseballs in certain areas of Wallowa County and winds up to 50 mph, according to media accounts. Wallowa Memorial Hospital reported treating multiple patients for hailstone injuries, according to the Wallowa Chieftain.

Brown said many homes and businesses with west-facing windows still have boards covering them, with siding and roofs also heavily damaged.

Wallowa’s mayor declared a state of emergency Aug. 12.

While many community organizations have banded together, the northeast Oregon community of around 800 people does not have the financial resources to support repairs and recovery, Brown said in the letter.

“The City of Wallowa is a small, remote rural community with many low-income community members that live on fixed incomes, and many are either uninsured or underinsured,” Brown wrote.

There are no state or federal programs available to help with the cost of repairs at this time, Brown said. If the Legislature approves, the money would come from the Oregon Local Disaster Assistance Loan and Grant account. This account is designated for localized events that do not meet the threshold for federal assistance.

– Austin De Dios; [email protected]

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