There are special moments in Oregon that cement themselves in your memory. The splash of the McKenzie River while rafting down whitewater rapids. Birds whistling above your head in the Mt. Hood National Forest. A fly-fishing line creating a ripple in the glassy North Umpqua River. Steam rising from a hot spring at Breitenbush.
Now it’s time to give back to these unforgettable places. The past couple of years’ record-breaking wildfires impacted destinations throughout Oregon, burning roughly 1.07 million acres and destroying more than 4,000 homes around the Mt. Hood National Forest, the Santiam Canyon, the McKenzie River Valley, the Central Oregon Coast, the Umpqua and Rogue valleys and the Klamath Basin. More than a year later and communities are still picking up the pieces.
During this holiday season of giving, consider donating to the recovery of Oregon’s wildfire-impacted communities. Your contribution will help residents rebuild with resiliency. The Oregon Community Foundation is gathering funds to support recovery statewide. Here are some more ways to help the different regions of Oregon.
The Archie Creek Fire spread 131,542 acres east of Roseburg in the Umpqua Valley. Perched above the North Umpqua River, The Steamboat Inn was in the middle of the fire’s path, with flames burning within feet of their historic 1950s cottages. The buildings survived, however, The Steamboat Inn’s three water systems and septic system did not. The Woodwards, a young family who bought the property in 2017, launched a GoFundMe page to cover repair costs while still living at the Inn without water, septic or phone lines. Fans of the historic property — long a mainstay of fly fishers — can also show their support by purchasing merchandise and gift cards.
Less than two hours south in the Rogue Valley, the Almeda Drive Fire destroyed more than 3,000 structures around the greater Ashland area, taking the homes of hundreds of farm workers and more than 50% of the student population in the Phoenix-Talent School District. A website, Almeda Fire Donations, lists 19 organizations raising funds to benefit the victims of the Almeda Drive Fire, which includes Phoenix-Talent School District families, UNETE farm workers, and Asante Foundation for displaced frontline health care workers. Medford’s 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery is donating 100% of proceeds from its special red wine release, 9-1-1 c.2, to Almeda Fire survivors.
The McKenzie/Holiday Farm Fire spread 173,393 acres in the McKenzie River Valley and devastated the entire communities of Blue River and Vida. More than 760 structures were incinerated, including nearly all of the McKenzie River Mountain Resort & Conference Center. To support the resort’s staff who lost their homes and livelihoods, a GoFundMe was created. United Way of Lane County continues to support families and individuals with a wildfire response fund. Lane County also introduced a resource for locals affected by wildfires, McKenzie Rebuilds.
In the Santiam Canyon, the Beachie Creek Fire covered 193,573 acres and destroyed 1,323 structures in Detroit, Gates and Mill City before merging with the Lionshead Fire. Cherished wellness retreat, Breitenbush Hot Springs, is asking for donations after losing all its guest cabins, the sanctuary, the foot bridge, the wood shop and more in the fire. United Way of Mid-Willamette Valley continues to aid wildfire relief in the Santiam Canyon, and the Santiam Hospital is also collecting donations for areas that still need support.
Donations to the nonprofit partner of the Willamette National Forest, Cascade Volunteers, are directly invested back in the recreational facilities of the national forest’s Santiam District and McKenzie District.
The Riverside Fire grew to 138,054 acres in the Clackamas River area around Mt. Hood National Forest, destroying at least 50 homes and 150 structures in Estacada. To support first responders and those impacted by the Riverside Fire in Clackamas County, the Clackamas Emergency Services Foundation created a wildfire relief fund.
The forest also suffered extensive damage. The National Forest Foundation’s new campaign, Mt Hood: Your Source for Water, Wildlife and Wonder, will dedicate 85 cents for every dollar donated to restoration projects in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The efforts include rebuilding hiking trails, cleaning up campsites, planting native plants and recruiting underserved youth for outdoor employment opportunities.