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SALEM Donors aid chamber in flood repair

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The business organization is trying to offset nearly $35,000 in damage.
SALEM -- The community has stepped forward in a big way to aid the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce in recovering from a devastating flood this summer, the agency's director says.
"It's been a positive response. We're very happy," Audrey Null, chamber director, said Friday.
So far, area businesses and organizations have given money as well as time and resources for services such as painting, landscaping and cleaning.
Null wouldn't say how much money has been donated. "There's been a lot," she added.
Earlier this month, the chamber publicly asked for donations to help offset nearly $35,000 in damage to the 19th-century chamber headquarters on East State Street at Lincoln Avenue.
The intersection and surrounding area were hit with several feet of water Aug. 9 after heavy rains overloaded storm-water drains that already were strained by this summer's many days of rain.
About 6 feet of water poured into the chamber basement, and more than a foot flooded other parts of the structure.
Files and historical documents by the hundreds were ruined or damaged. Computers, a copy machine and a water heater were destroyed.
The loss has forced the chamber to contract for costly repairs, including the replacement of parts of walls. Carpet also needs to be replaced.
"We had a real mess," Null said.
The chamber has no flood insurance and is applying to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for aid. The chamber is eligible for reimbursement of up to 75 percent of the repair cost.
So far, the application process is going slowly, Null said.
She estimated it may be well into this fall before repairs are completed and the chamber office is returned to normal.