Tsunami-hit Oregon county looks for aid

Mar 15, 2011

A southern Oregon county battered by last Friday's tsunami is turning to the state and federal government for assistance. High waves caused heavy damage the harbor in Brookings. One local official hand-delivered a request for assistance to the state capitol.

The tsunami was generated by Japan's devastating earthquake. It lashed the port of Brookings Harbor in Curry County. It tore up docks and destroyed fishing boats. The Board of Commissioners in this economically-challenged county declared a state of emergency to help pave the way for possible state and federal assistance.

Commission Chair George Rhodes says that while an official estimate of damage totals won't be known until later this week, the cost to Brookings goes beyond dollars and cents:

"The port is kind of the engine for the culture there. And this is sort of just another one of those situations where we'll overcome it, but it makes it very difficult to continue to get out there and fight the battle."

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio and also met with Curry County officials. The two pledged to help the community with possible federal aid to recover from the tsunami.