MOLALLA, Ore. (KOIN) — Community members in Molalla stepped up this weekend to help neighbors who are still without power more than a week after a historic ice storm ravaged the city.
Mayor Scott Keyser said it’s been a long week for Molalla residents.
Half the city got their power back around Monday morning and ever since then we’ve just been working non stop to make sure the community is safe and getting by,” he said.
Volunteers set up a warming center at the Church of the Nazarene on Shirley Street. Leota Childress, director of the warming center, said water and ready-made meals, as well as chili and cornbread, were available for anyone that came in. Battery chargers were also available at the center.
So far the response has been great, Childress said.
“These are all volunteers and that’s the way Molalla is,” Childress said. “We don’t wait for somebody to come ask us what we need. This community starts pulling together and doing it.
Other volunteers armed with brush clearing equipment chewed through branches and piles of storm debris in an effort to get life back to normal for residents.
“Just doing my part,” said volunteer Gavin Long. “People have offered me money, I don’t want to take it. Just doing it for the community.”
Keyser said some of the debris will be turned into firewood by a ministry group. The rest will be turned into woodchips that the public can use in the future.
Keyser said six other crews were also helping seniors get loads of debris to the drop-off location.
“We have chippers, excavators, saws, everything out running to try to get people’s properties cleaned up right now,” he said.
Volunteer James Hayes compared the ice storm damage to tornado damage.
“Huge limbs with ice pockets on it, just they just crumbled down,” he said.
Hayes said some of the branches even hit his neighbor’s cars. He added that he’s been powerless for the past five days.
“I was kind of lucky but I’m just cleaning up other people’s property right now,” he said.
Childress said the impact of the storm on the community was even more significant than the wildfires from last year.
“This freeze has affected more people in our area than even the fires did because people are without electricity everywhere,” she said.