SEATTLE — President Barack Obama arrived in Seattle Tuesday for a quick, four-hour visit during which he attended two Democratic fundraisers and authorized federal assistance to get power restored in the wildfires area.
Air Force One touched down at Boeing Field just after 3 p.m.
Obama had a brief conversation with Gov. Jay Inslee about the wildfire situation in the state, greeted a group of people at Boeing Field and then was driven to the first fundraiser in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood.
A small group of demonstrators supporting the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip stood nearby when his motorcade arrived in Madrona.
From there, he traveled across Lake Washington to Medina for a Democratic Party fundraising dinner costing $25,000 per person.
Inslee said he and Obama went over maps of the wildfire complexes in the state and that the president said he would grant federal assistance to help restore power in the wildfires areas.
“I asked the president … to make a declaration to allow federal assistance to restore power. The administration is going to grant that emergency assistance, which will be generated through FEMA. We are going to get some federal assistance, the dimension of which is to be determined.”
Obtaining an emergency federal disaster declaration for homeowners and property owners would take longer, Inslee said, because it will take days to assess damage since the fires are still burning.
In remarks to those at the fundraiser, Obama said, “We were able to get on the phone — my director of FEMA, Craig Fugate — and we were able to authorize today an emergency declaration when it comes to electrical power, which is one of the most immediate concerns, and then we’re going to be working with the state on additional declarations that may need to take place.
“But I just want to make sure that everybody knows,” Obama said, “that we are going to be thinking about and then helping people who are being severely affected by these fires.”
Inslee said Obama also called the wife of retired state trooper Robert Koczewski, who died of an apparent heart attack while trying to protect his Carlton home from the Carlton Complex Fire. Obama expressed his condolences and told Pat Koczewski how much he supports public servants, Inslee said.
Obama and Air Force One left Boeing Field at about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday.