Three Relief Centers Online For Holiday Farm Fire Survivors

Oct 9, 2020

Three relief centers are now up and running along the McKenzie River Corridor. They’re to help people affected by the Holiday Farm Fire for at least several months.

Blue River area following the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire.
Credit Tom Atkinson

Late Labor Day, people fled their homes as fast-moving flames roared through their communities. Now many are back, picking through the remnants of their homes, businesses, and towns.

Remnants of a Blue River residence after the Holiday Farm Fire.
Credit Tom Atkinson

Tim Laue is with the McKenzie Community Development Corporation, which is helping establish the relief centers. Currently there are ones in Blue River, Vida, and McKenzie River. He says cash is one way to help support their efforts.

“We can use it to dedicate to communities and particular projects, but we also have to pay people who have been working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week," Laue told KLCC.  "The economy up there is gone, and people need to be employed, and being employed helping their neighborhoods recover is very important."

Laue added that his organization is a 501 (c)(3) (i.e. non-profit) and tax-deductible donations can be made to McKenzieCommunity.org.

The coming winter rains are expected to inflict their own hazards across the area. This includes rockslides, mudslides, and collapsing trees affected by the fires.

Alice Bonasio of the McKenzie Community Development Corporation added that currently the Rainbow center is serving over 70 people per day..  The Blue River one is averaging over 60, with demand increasing as more people come back to their properties.

She also said there are plans to open another relief center in Vida (most likely at the Windermere office next to the market) and work going on "to build on our resilience for winter, placing supplies strategically in various places along the 126 so that in case there are mudslides, etc and supply trucks cannot get through to certain locations, they will not be cut off from essentials." Starting October 12th, Bonasio said the centers will also experiment with alternating their opening days. The Blue River Center will be closed Mondays/Tuesdays and the Rainbow UMCC one on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  "The highest demand at the moment is over the weekend, so both centers will continue to be open on Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays," she said.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.