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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

'Folks are really going to need all our help to rebuild in the future'

Clackamas County Commissioner Ken Humberston consistently keeps us updated about important Board of Commissioner actions and news affecting county residents. This information has been especially helpful the past couple of weeks. Here’s a summary of Ken’s latest communiques:

September 20 -- After visiting evacuee shelters and the fire camp at Clackamas Community College and hearing all the reports from the firefighters and law enforcement teams, I realize how lucky Grace and I were. Many of our Clackamas neighbors were not so lucky. Homes were lost in some of our communities, and some were burglarized . We all need to be ready to help our neighbors get back on their feet. So when the call goes out to donate for their recovery be ready with whatever you can do. I also want to recognize the hard work of folks in Molalla that worked with their own equipment to save homes in their community. Without them the loss would have been greater.

On a related note I want to recognize county support staff. We all know of the incredible work of our firefighters, but there are many behind the scenes that support them. CCOM (911) had to evacuate from Oregon city and re-deploy to Washington county and Lake Oswego to keep communications up and running. They had to do this and keep operating at the same time. Some of those folks did 30 plus hour shifts. Other staff did repeated 12-hours-on 4-off for days to keep equipment and vehicles running. Others spent many hours getting food to evacuees or providing mental health support to those who were severely stressed.


Then there was the incredible outpouring of support from citizens for the firemen and evacuees -- people from all over driving up to fire camps and dropping off food and sundries. Also going to sites like the Elks lodge and the Town center with supplies. I want to acknowledge the Emergency Operations Center team. They have been operational since February due to Covid-19. They have been staffed by county employees pulled in from many different divisions of county operations and have been operating 24-hours-a-day since that time, working to save lives and keep people safe and healthy. And they are still on the job.

Our thanks also goes out to our law enforcement team and the numerous agency staff from around the region who helped patrol and arrest criminals that were preying on evacuees homes. We are grateful to the police from our cities, Oregon State Police, police and sheriffs from Multnomah County, to name a few, and the 12 fire- strike teams from all over the state who came to help Clackamas County in our time of need.

September 21 -- Today I delivered food boxes to Hoodview, Sandy and Estacada and the mayor of  Estacada, Sean Drinkwine, graciously showed me around their emergency center, where many volunteers are helping evacuees with food, clothes and other necessities. Wonderful people, like so many in Clackamas County who have reached out to help the fire victims and the firefighters. The local fire chief took us on a nearby tour of some of the area ravaged by fire. I saw a number of burned-up homes and burned woodlands and tree farms. Folks are really going to need all our help to rebuild in the future but I have to say they are "ESTACADA STRONG.”

Volunteers working to ready chainsaws for

I want to give a real shout- out to Blount Industries.

They had a truck there with staff and volunteers that take firefighters’ chainsaws, and while the firefighters

rest, the volunteers sharpen saws, repair them, oil them and have them ready for pick-up. They did this at Clackamas Community College and now in Estacada.

They are just one of many companies that have donated to help out. 

Thank you to all the people of Clackamas County who pulled together to help!!!!!