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City Club of Eugene: After The Holiday Farm Fire: What Does It Mean To Rebuild (Part 2)

Andy Nelson
Register Guard/ Pool

Program Date: Jan. 29, 2021

Air Date: Feb.1, 2021

From The City Club of Eugene:

Just over four months ago, the Holiday Farm Fire consumed more than 173,000 acres of the McKenzie River valley. Forestry resource specialists called it a “total stand-replacement fire,” one that killed all or most of the trees in the affected area, a very rare event in the Western Cascades. For many residents, the past few months have been focused entirely on survival—enduring the immediate aftermath and then simply making it through the winter.<--break->

For this second City Club program on the Holiday Farm Fire, we turn our full attention to recovery and ask the question: What does it mean to rebuild? Community members and local organizations are adapting to multi-year recovery timelines. Local agencies are working to support recovery, comply with FEMA regulations and flood insurance requirements, and mitigate future disasters along the McKenzie River. Home to several hundred valley residents, the McKenzie River is also the primary water source for 300,000 downstream metro area residents.


Heather Buch represents District 5, East Lane County, on its Board of Commissioners. She was born and raised in Lane County and has spent most of her professional career helping people access and afford housing in Lane County. She owned her own business and then for several years served as the Special Projects Director for St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, Inc. She worked on many innovative community-based projects and took a lead role in the nonprofit’s acquisition and rehabilitation of aging mobile home parks – a solution to the need for more affordable housing that is being replicated throughout Oregon. She has been a member of the state’s Manufactured Housing Preservation Steering Committee, the Veterans’ Housing Project, the city of Eugene Rental Housing Department Advisory Committee, and the Springfield Manufactured Home Park Collaborative. She earned a degree in business administration from Seattle University.

Tim Laue had a career of more than twenty-five years in leadership and management in the private and public sectors, including roles of shareholder, Director, and Vice President of Corporate Development for a construction company with millions of dollars in contracts. He served on the Eugene City Council, contributing to the work of the Police Commission, Civilian Review Board, and Public Safety Coordinating Council. Then he restarted his consulting company, T-Laue Consulting. The company concentrates on helping nonprofits and other community organizations in the McKenzie River Valley. He is a resident of Blue River and the president of McKenzie Community Development Corporation.

Jeannine Parisi is a Customer Relationship Manager with the Eugene Water & Electric Board. Her work is mainly with large customers, mostly in the government sector. Her customers include the City of Eugene, Lane County, and the Bethel School District, as well as wholesale water contract customers. Emergency preparedness and resiliency planning is one area of commonality across many of her customers. In the aftermath of the Holiday Farm Fire, she was designated to coordinate efforts of the McKenzie Watershed Recovery Task Team with the Lane County Emergency Operations Center. She has been engaged with intergovernmental affairs and community relations for over twenty years. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Oregon, serves on the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency Board and is active with the Eugene Chamber of Commerce. She owns a small business and does house projects to relax.