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Oregon lawmaker warned of danger faced by New Orleans

For years, Louisiana lawmakers have warned of a possible flooding disaster in New Orleans.

But one of the most outspoken legislators on preparing the city for a storm like Hurricane Katrina was a Democrat from Oregon.

Earlier this year, Rep. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerStage set for Lujan challenge atop Dems' campaign arm We don't know how much we spend on disasters, and that needs to change Blumenauer backs legal pot — but not for his grandchildren MORE delivered a speech on the House floor that drew parallels between the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the vulnerability of New Orleans.

Blumenauer’s predictions of a catastrophe came true as Katrina flooded New Orleans, leading to a death toll that is expected to climb into the thousands.

On Jan. 26, Blumenauer said a hurricane hitting New Orleans would lead to a “30-foot wall of water hitting the city, causing thousands of deaths and $100 billion in damage.”

He added, “The experience of Southeast Asia should convince us all of the urgent need for congressional action. … Prevention and planning will pay off. Maybe the devastation will encourage us to act before disaster strikes.”

In a Sept. 15, 2004, floor speech, Blumenauer said damage inflicted by a hurricane “might represent the loss of the city of New Orleans. … Now is the time to deal with policies that will make a difference protecting people.”

Bob Cusack