Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley told KAST News this morning that there are several major problems with the federal flood insurance program and it's his feeling that the legislation passed last year should be set aside until a complete investigation can be made and better law brought forward.
The Senator said it's his feeling the process could take another year. In an interview Wednesday morning Merkley said that he held second hearing on the issue this week after which he said "First, the new flood insurance policies are unaffordable. Many insurance policies that were previously $300-500 per year are now going up to several thousand dollars.
Second, many Oregonians who had been previously told by their lenders they were not required to have flood insurance are now being told by their mortgage lenders that expensive flood insurance policies are being forced on them.
Third, many Oregonians are now unable to sell their home due to the burden flood insurance would place upon their potential buyers. For instance, the Hay family in Eagle Creek has been unable to sell their home and have had potential buyers withdraw their offer after learning that flood insurance will increase ten-fold to $5,000 annually upon sale of their home.
Finally, homeowners carry the burden of proof if they believe their property should not be required to have flood insurance. To prove to a mortgage company that a home is not in a flood plain can cost between $500 and $2,000, and until such proof is provided and accepted, the homeowner must continue to pay flood insurance."
Merkley said after the hearings he is convinced it would be best to set the matter aside until a full investigation can be completed and a better piece of legislation can be brought forward.
The issue impacts many more local property owners who suddenly found themselves located in a flood zone after delays in recertification of diking systems.