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Oregon Emergency Management Moves Under the Governor

This is effective July 1, 2022.

Congratulations to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM)! See the message below from Andrew Phelps, OEM’s director.

I’m actually recording a Disaster Zone podcast with Andrew tomorrow that will air later in July.

It has been huge lift for everyone at Oregon OEM and they have increased in size all while continuing to provide emergency management services during a pandemic.

I look forward to seeing how this move organizationally and physically will propel them into the future.

Best wishes!

This is a momentous week for us here at OEM. On Friday, July 1, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management will officially become the first-ever Oregon Department of Emergency Management, a cabinet-level department independent from the Oregon Military Department (OMD), reporting directly to the governor. The timeline of this transition, a result of House Bill (HB) 2927, officially began July 1, 2021, and for the past year, we’ve been working very closely with OMD to ensure a successful separation and establishment of the department - all while continuing to support our partners and stakeholders. We are incredibly excited and honored to become the Oregon Department of Emergency Management this Friday!

The Oregon Department of Emergency Management will operate under the familiar acronym of OEM – Oregon Emergency Management – to continue building on our agency’s credibility and recognition. We’re also pleased to give you a first look at our new logo, which goes into effect July 1. This modern refresh of our previous logo replaces the mountain background with the outline of our state to better represent all communities we serve in Oregon.

This establishment transitions OEM to a stand-alone department better positioned to prioritize risk reduction while maintaining local support statewide for consequence management. Being a stand-alone department coincides with unprecedented growth in state-level emergency management. Since the 2021 legislative session, we’ve more than doubled our staff from 44 to 93 full-time positions and seen budgetary increases to support this increased capacity.  These resources will help implement our vision of an established, equitable culture of preparedness that empowers Oregonians to thrive in times of crisis.

With these new positions, we’ve outgrown the footprint the Anderson Readiness Center can support, both for day-to-day operations and activations of the State ECC. In the coming months, we will be moving to our new location in southeast Salem. Our staff will occupy the second floor of the space, while the bottom floor will house the ECC and JIC starting in early 2023.

As a department, we are committed to a comprehensive and equitable approach to reducing Oregon’s shared risk.  We will evolve our policies and programs to better support all communities, placing an intentional focus on those historically marginalized and underserved, to ensure programs and resources are equitable, inclusive and accessible. And we will continue to advocate for investments in risk reduction initiatives that look forward at the changing hazards and seek to mitigate the impacts to the changing climate.

All of us at the Oregon Department of Emergency Management are eager to continue partnering with the communities we serve to modernize emergency management and build a culture of preparedness in Oregon that empowers individuals, families and communities to be disaster survivors rather than victims. Let’s get to work!

Take care of yourselves and take care of each other.

Andrew Phelps, Director, Oregon Office of Emergency Management
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.