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Recovery Group Lands $256k In Grants To Rebuild Wildfire-Hit Communities

Brian Bull

Efforts to rebuild parts of the McKenzie River Corridor burned by the 2020 wildfires just got a boost, to the tune of over a quarter-million dollars. But coordinators say reconstruction will take more money, time, and patience.

Marilyn Cross is with the McKenzie Valley Long Term Recovery Group (MVLTRG), which just received two grants collectively exceeding a quarter million dollars.

“Our goal is to bring our families back, and to keep them safe when they get here,” Cross told KLCC. “When we build back better, we mean more resiliently. 

“It’s terribly important that we not make all the trade-offs that would be expedient and in the process give up that resiliency that we can’t afford to give up.”

Four organizations, led by the Oregon Community Foundation, have provided more than $6.1 million to 60 groups to date since the 2020 fires.

“Every place goes through this painful period of ‘We want it now, we need it now’, and y’know, it takes time to go through everything we need to do, to ensure that people get the most we can possibly get them,” Cross said.

The latest grants will help grow and support MVLTRG’s staff, help residents get fire-resistant materials for their rebuilding efforts, and support landscaping methods that would make properties less prone to burning. The grants are expected to help up to 200 families, including those affected by the Holiday Farm Fire.

Cross says ultimately, partners hope to raise $10 million for Oregon communities hit hard by the 2020 wildfires.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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