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Lawyers Offer Free Legal Aid To 2020 Wildfire Victims Across Oregon

Brian Bull

Oregon wildfire victims can access free legal aid, as they attempt to recover and rebuild from the most destructive season in state history.

The Oregon State Bar, FEMA, the Red Cross, and the American Bar Association partnered up for what’s called the Disaster Legal Services program. Their pro bono attorneys stand ready to assist people who’ve found their lives upended by this year’s fires.

Kateri Walsh of the Oregon State Bar says past the initial shock of the destruction, legal struggles begin to set in for survivors.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
A destroyed home in Talent, October 2020.

“FEMA benefits are one major legal area where we are providing lawyers to help with that," she told KLCC.

"The other big area right now, people are beginning to file their insurance claims and that can be very challenging particularly after a fire when you’ve lost a lot of your documentation, etcetera.”

Other areas include landlord-tenant disputes, mortgage foreclosures, and contracts for housing repairs. 

Wildfires in Oregon this year destroyed 1.2 million acres and 4,026 residences.

Resources and Information:

Oregon residents affected by this year's wildfires who want to learn more about the free legal aid can inquire at (800)452-7636 or by visiting https://oregondisasterlegalservices.org

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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