Community steps up to help in fire disaster

The Holiday Farm Fire has ravaged the McKenzie River Valley this last week. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes. Those living west of the fire in Eugene and Springfield have faced hazardous air quality in a season where the police have assaulted neighborhoods with tear gas and we are still facing a respiratory disease.

This disaster, which to note is not entirely natural but induced by forest mismanagement and climate change led by corporations including logging companies, has put those fleeing the fire and those that were already vulnerable like our community’s unhoused population at a major risk. Stepping up to provide aid are some of the groups that were already on the ground in the midst of COVID.

Lane County Mutual Aid and the local NAACP have been running a distribution hub, collected and providing much needed supplies from masks to menstrual products. CORE, working with Black Thistle Aid and Occupy Medical have been hitting the streets offering supplies and housing people in hotel rooms. Eugene DSA has been running an emergency fund drive to provide material support. NAC’s Solidarity Share Fair continues has been offering pickup. Lane County SRA put together care packages for firefighters.

Overnight clean air shelter still remains in short supply. The City of Eugene only recently started providing 24/7 shelter and only 15 beds. New Hope Baptist Church is offering space for up to 80 people. Stop Death on the Streets is encouraging people to contact UO admins to open up unused space to the Eugene/Springfield community.

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The week ahead