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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Audit: Oregon Agency Engaged In 'Inappropriate Grant Management Practices'

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

A new state audit says the Oregon agency that monitors natural hazards has engaged in some questionable fiscal practices. The report says the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries is also taking steps to correct the problem.

The agency, frequently referred to by its acronym, DOGAMI, is perhaps best known for its detailed maps that help communities prepare for potential natural hazards such as tsunamis or landslides. It also regulates the state's geologic resources, like oil, gas and industrial minerals.

Most of DOGAMI's funding comes from user fees and federal grants. The Oregon Secretary of State audit found the agency routinely accepted federal grant money long before it actually spent it. Staff said that was supposed to help with the agency's cash flow situation. But it's in apparent violation of how federal grant funding is supposed to work.

Agency leaders agreed with the audit and said steps have been taken to tighten control over how federal grants are used.