Nov. 25, 2015
Lisa Jameson, 847-8099, LJameson@spokanecounty.org
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 11:52 a.m.
SPOKANE, Wash. –Greater Spokane Department of Emergency Management (DEM), in partnership with numerous agencies, held another meeting today to get updates from community partners on recovery efforts from Nov. 17’s historic windstorm. Hard work from utilities, street crews and neighbors continues this week to get people back into their homes. Crews are working around the clock and the community’s contribution with its own commitment to remain #InlandStrong is much appreciated.
Our community has responded graciously to the call for volunteers. Since Friday, 400 volunteers have been going door-to-door checking on homebound individuals to ensure they had access to resources and were doing everything they could to remain safe and warm. Those volunteers handed out important safety information as well as blankets, non-perishable foods, and other necessities. After yesterday’s door-to-door effort, there were a total of more than 7,300 homes throughout Spokane County reached since last Friday.
For those still without power, warming centers are still open throughout the community, including two at Spokane Public Schools. Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs (SNAP) has been out delivering firewood and tarps to cover roofs. Agencies also released an Emergency Resource Guide that consolidates many of the resources and services available after the windstorm: http://srhd.org/documents/EmergencyResourcesGuide.pdf.
Community partners have continually assessed the need for shelters in the area. As of 10 a.m. this morning the Red Cross shelter in Spokane Valley closed. The additional shelter at the Girl Scout headquarters is scheduled to close at 7 p.m. tonight. 2-1-1, whose staff already fielded hundreds of calls, also remains a tremendous resource for the community for locating post-windstorm services and will be open through the weekend.
The state has said that for current DSHS Clients, if they currently receive SNAP/Basic Food benefits and their food has been destroyed in a household disaster or misfortune, it can be replaced. To request replacement benefits, please call DSHS at 1.877.501.2233. They must report the loss within 10 days in order for DSHS to replace their benefits. If someone does not currently receive SNAP/Basic Food benefits and thinks they may be eligible, they can apply for benefits under current SNAP/Basic Food program rules. To apply for Basic Food from any computer with internet access, go to www.washingtonconnection.org. They can also apply for benefits at your local Community Services Office or call 1.877.501.2233.
Officials cautioned the public that downed trees should be considered unstable and downed lines may not be visible through the snow. Drivers are asked to remain cautious as snow could obscure potential hazards and make stopping at intersections without working signals more dangerous.
Also related to storm damage is an updated online reporting tool from Greater Spokane Emergency Management at www.spokanecounty.org/emergencymgmt for residents and businesses that suffered storm damage to submit their damage information.
Police officers stepped up patrols in the darkest neighborhoods and will continue to be out there, but citizens are also reminded to be vigilant by securing generators and other items, keeping a close eye out for unusual activity and calling Crime Check 456.2233 with any concerns.
As Thanksgiving approaches, access to food is increasingly becoming a concern in the community. Second Harvest offers a list on its website of eastern Washington emergency food outlets or call 509.534.6678. Partners are also coming together to bolster numerous existing communal meal locations, listed here. Here is the latest map listing outages and resources: http://arcg.is/1XfLggq. If you’re accessing the map via your mobile phone, turn it horizontally to see the legend.
Community Organizations Active in Disasters, a group of community volunteers, worked with several organizations to staff and host meals over the next few days. Hot meals will be served at:
Additionally, food pantries are open for supplies:
Members of Adventist Community Service and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are providing volunteers and food for the effort.
City of Spokane continues to make progress with fully deployed crews focusing on clearing residential and side streets, and just two arterials remaining blocked. Free disposal of large storm debris has been expanded through Dec. 6th at the Northside Landfill and Waste to Energy Plant. Over the past few days, those locations have accepted more than 1,360 tons of debris. Smaller debris can be placed into curbside clean green bins for regular pick up. Perishable food items can be disposed of in clean green bins once the packaging has been removed.
Spokane County crews are widely deployed and focused on arterials and residential and side streets. Due to high volumes, the Spokane County Regional Solid Waste System is directing residential storm-related yard and tree waste to its North County Transfer Station, 22123 N. Elk-Chattaroy Road. Debris of all sizes will be accepted free-of-charge through Nov. 29. Hours for those facilities are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Avista continues to make good progress on the remaining outages, with additional help from six western states and Canada. Avista Chairman and CEO, Scott Morris said that crews will work through Thanksgiving to restore power to the 12,000 remaining homes. Morris estimated that up to 5,000 customers may be without power into Friday. More than 100 Avista crews are focused in Spokane alone where the bulk of the outages remain. Avista continues to dig out from the worst natural disaster the company has seen in its history and, due to the magnitude of the destruction, work is taking longer than expected.
Inland Power and Light is down to 50-70 outages, most of them complex individual cases where the homes themselves are damaged to the point power cannot be safely restored, and asked that its customers still without power to call 877.668.8243 with questions or concerns.
City of Spokane Valley Public Works crews removed all reported blockages from downed trees in the public roadway. No new reports have been received. Please call 921.1000 to report any new storm-related tree and debris blockages in Spokane Valley city roadways.
DEM continues to coordinate resources throughout Spokane County including first responders, health organizations, social service agencies and other resource providers and power companies—public safety remains a priority. Another news release will be distributed tomorrow as necessary. Otherwise, specific updates will come from Avista Utilities and Inland Power.