Aumsville still rebuilding a month after tornado

AUMSVILLE, Ore. - A month after a tornado tore a path through downtown, Aumsville residents have started to rebuild.

Sen. Ron Wyden will get a firsthand look next week when he visits the town on Friday, Jan. 21. He will also hold a Town Hall Meeting in the community center at 5 p.m.

A fundraiser concert for uninsured tornado victims is Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Cascade High School Auditorium, 10226 Marion Road SE, Turner. Donations of $5 (or more) will be accepted.

And the Aumsville City Council will hold an Aumsville Tornado Open Forum on Jan. 24 7 p.m. in the community center.

City Administrator Maryann Hills held a tornado debriefing in the City Community center on Jan. 13.

"The City of Aumsville has worked hard to return a sense of normalcy to the city," said Hills.

City streets are now free of debris and downed wires; homes and businesses are in the initial stages of repair; and residents are once again feeling secure, Hills said.

City leaders said the preliminary $1,129,368 cost estimate for damage to businesses and residences is probably lower than the actual cost of replacing them. As repairs have begun, additional damage is surfacing.

Residents are also finding that the cost of actual replacement is often higher than the original damage estimate because roofs and other structures are depreciated by insurance companies.

Oregonians and comapnies have pitched in with donations ranging from $5 to $10,000 to Tornado Relief Fund established immediately after the disaster.

Approximately $30,000 has been distributed or dedicated to families who are uninsured or need help with paying their insurance deductibles. "As much as we've accomplished," Mayor Harold White said, "there are still families in need for assistance".

"The effort to rebuild and restore people's lives will take many months, and we appreciate all that people have given," Riverview Bank Manager Julie Wisser said. Contributions are still being accepted at Riverview Bank or at City Hall.

Residents suffering tornado damage to their property have also benefitted from the donation of building materials to aid in repairs.

Some materials are still available at the Fire Department.

The Bethel Baptist Church Food & Clothing Closet remains open to supply food and clothing to those in need.

Marion County Building Inspection has worked to expedite the issuance of permits to speed the recovery. To date, five permits have been issued.

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