Governor Kitzhaber declares emergency after tsunami damages ports

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March 15, 2011

By Eileen McGuire-Mahony

Salem, OREGON: Tidal waves that roared across the Pacific in the wake of last week's shattering earthquake have so damaged the Oregon ports in Curry County and Brookings that Governor John Kitzhaber has declared a state of emergency. He hopes his step will be a prelude to the federal government stepping in with more aid.[1]

Today, the Port of Brookings remains closed, a blow to southern Oregon's coastal economy. Kitzhaber's emergency measures include working to shift boats up from Arlington to help, while assessing how much work actual dock structures require to be usable again. Following the declaration of emergency, 11 state agencies are coordinating aid to Curry County, including emergency housing.

In signing the order, Kitzhaber, a Democrat elected last fall, announced, "I want to get Curry County the financial help it needs to get back to work and start rebuilding their community immediately."[2]

Brooking, sitting just north of the California border, was all but obliterated by the tsunami waves. Coastal residents have been evacuated.[3] The Governor also addressed fears that residents of America's west cost could suffer from radioactive clouds drifting in from Japan, a risk he called negligible in consideration of the sheer distance the cloud would need to travel.