‘Resilient’: Estacada couple rebuilds after Riverside Fire

Special Reports

A couple's journey from 'armageddon-ish' to 'survive with flying colors'

ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s a remarkable day for Peter Bush and Lisa Fuller. They’re seeing sweet dreams take shape in the sunshine, out from the shadow of the dark memories of the Riverside Fire.

They described that “horrible, horrible day” in September 2020 as “very armageddon-ish” as they saw “this raging cloud coming right at us.”

They were torn between flight or fight that day as the fire raced toward their Estacada home.

“I remember seeing the photos of the Paradise Fire and I was terrified. People trapped in their cars,” Fuller said. “I was horrified by those pictures. I did not want that happening to my family.”

They grabbed their cats and whatever they could, then sped off. The next day, Bush returned.

Their house and everything inside was demolished. The workshop where he built marimbas for school music programs was incinerated — along with the instruments and all his tools.

Insurance helps pay for a temporary home rental and rebuilding. But the trauma is overwhelming.

“Grief is going to have its way with you. If I fight it, push it away or ignore it or I don’t allow it to be, it’s going to kick me harder later,” Fuller said.

She’s a former hospice nurse who wants others to understand healing will take time.

Lisa Fuller and Peter Bush are rebuilding their Estacada home after losing everything in the Riverside Fire, March 2021 (KOIN)

“Laughter, humor distraction. If I need to watch 3 romantic comedies in a row, I’m going to do that.”

The couple is restarting their businesses. Bush already has orders for when his new workshop takes shape. Fuller is tending plant starts on someone else’s property for now.

GoFundMe: Save the Rosebush Marimbas

Their hope is to move in by September — one year after their loss.

“The house is meant to be a stay-until-you’re-not-here-on-the-planet-anymore home,” she said.

They married just one week after the fire. Their house will be a place to celebrate.

“We’re resilient. This has tested us, for sure,” he said. “We’ve survived with flying colors.”

Lisa Fuller and Peter Bush are rebuilding their Estacada home after losing everything in the Riverside Fire. On the left, September 2020. On the right, March 2021 (KOIN)

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