The permits issued so far cover about a quarter of the 600 homes that were completely destroyed. Washington Planning Director Jon Oliphant says the city is thrilled to see this many building permits, especially after such a severe winter:
“It’s good to see the progress moving right along. We continue to see an incredible number of permits come in each week, and even though it’s increasing our workload with the city, it’s good to see. We’re certainly glad to be working as hard as we can to try and get everybody back on the road to recovery.”
Oliphant says some homes are even close to being finished with rebuilding. But he says the city has seen some people say they’re moving away from Washington after losing their homes. The permit news was shared during the first community meeting since FEMA denied the state’s appeal for public assistance. The state has since stepped-up with its own funding to help pay for the recovery of affected communities.