An Oroville hairdresser is one of nearly 100 people who have filed claims against the state of California due to damages incurred by the spillway failure.
Justis Eisenhour filed a $75,000 claim against California, which has been rejected, according to documents from the Department of General Services.
At the time the spillway incident occurred, Eisenhour worked at The Color Room salon in Oroville. He told ABC10 that due to the evacuations and months of confusion that followed, he lost a significant number of his clients and was ultimately unable to continue working there.
“It was awful because I didn’t know what was happening,” Eisenhour, who now works in Los Angeles, explained over Skype. “Nobody had clear answers so I didn’t know if I was going to be returning to Oroville or not…I lost all of my clients. My clients didn’t want to commute in to Oroville anymore.”
He added that he filed this claim because he “wanted to let it known that there were people suffering because of this incident.”
According to Eisenhour, the state told him they would not accept his claim because they consider it a “natural catastrophe.” But he doesn’t believe that.
“[The state] knew that the structure needed to be fixed…we had a giant drought and nobody did anything,” he said. “It was their responsibility to fix that dam, to make sure it was in working order.”
A preliminary report done by the Department of Water Resources found several factors that may have caused the damage to the spillway, including some that suggest maintenance issues.
So far, 93 claims -- ranging from $100 to $1 billion -- have been filed against California. Many farmers who say the spill caused irreparable harm to their crops are among that group.
California has yet to pay any of the claims out and more are expected to come in as the Aug. 11 deadline approaches.