News Releases

Today, the federal delegation representing Snohomish County urged President Obama and top Administration officials to expedite and quickly approve the latest federal aid request from Washington Governor Jay Inslee after a devastating landslide impacted several communities in Snohomish County, including Oso, Darrington, and Arlington.  Today’s request from the Governor would provide additional federal aid for response efforts.  Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and U.S. Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Rick Larsen (WA-02), and Jim McDermott (WA-07) co-authored the letter immediately after Governor Inslee submitted the state’s official request to the Obama Administration this afternoon.

“We are enormously proud of the first responders and search and rescue personnel from multiple local and state agencies who have responded heroically to this tragedy…While local communities and state agencies have responded admirably, a disaster of this magnitude requires long-term federal assistance to help in the response and recovery effort,” the delegation members wrote. “We therefore urge you to approve a federal disaster declaration as soon as possible.”

On Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced President Obama had issued a limited emergency declaration for direct federal assistance in Washington state.  The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on Monday also announced it would provide $1 million in Emergency Relief funds to support emergency transportation needs in Snohomish County.

The USDOT Emergency Relief program provides emergency funding for highway repair after natural disasters or catastrophic failures from an external cause.

The Emergency Relief program was reauthorized in the latest federal transportation bill, which passed Congress was signed by President Obama in July 2012. It is the same program used to pay for repairs of the I-5 Skagit River Bridge when it collapsed in May 2013.

States are required to request a formal declaration of emergency in order to receive federal support. On March 22, Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a State of Emergency for Snohomish County.

View the letter here.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President:

We write to urge you to approve as quickly as possible the amendment to the federal emergency disaster declaration requested by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on March 27, 2014.

As you know, on Saturday, March 22, 2014, a massive landslide near Oso, Washington, destroyed homes, damaged public infrastructure, and blocked the Stillaguamish River. At least 24 people have lost their lives and 90 are still unaccounted for. State Route 530, the primary transportation artery between Arlington, Darrington, and communities to the east, has been closed indefinitely due to the landslide.

“We are enormously proud of the first responders and search and rescue personnel from multiple local and state agencies who have responded heroically to this tragedy. We also deeply appreciate the commitment of the many citizen volunteers, charities, businesses, and local elected officials who have risen to serve their neighbors during this very difficult time. While local communities and state agencies have responded admirably, a disaster of this magnitude requires long-term federal assistance to help in the response and recovery effort. We therefore urge you to approve a federal disaster declaration as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance for your quick attention to this matter.