Beavercreek residents thankful after evac order downgraded


"Feels good to be home"

BEAVERCREEK, Ore. (KOIN) — Firefighters battling the Riverside Fire have been making headway on strengthening fire lines nears Estacada. Some evacuation levels were downgraded in Clackamas County, including some areas east of Oregon City and south of Sandy.

While the Riverside Fire has burned more than 130,000 acres and is not contained, fire officials say the fire’s growth is slowing down. From Sunday to Monday, it grew less than 1,000 acres. After evacuation orders were dropped for some parts of the county, KOIN 6 News spoke with two families in the Beavercreek area who said it’s good to be home.

Driving through Beavercreek, there are signs posted showing gratitude. Lizzie Katz was among those who have been putting up the thank-you signs.

“It was really fun making the sign and it felt good making it because I got to tell our first responders thank you,” said Lizzie. Her message to everyone working through this: “You’re doing a very good job, even if you feel like you’re not doing very much, you really are because you’re putting it out and you’re not letting it go to people’s houses.”

Her family evacuated when they got the notice that their home was in a Level 3 “Go” evacuation zone.

“We were prepared once we got the call,” said Taunya Katz, Lizzie’s mom. “It was basically a round-up—took 20 minutes, grabbed some stuff.”

As evacuation orders are downgraded and people begin to return home, thank you signs for firefighters are beginning to pop up around Clackamas County. September 14, 2020 (KOIN)

The Katz family evacuated and so did their neighbors.

“When the evacuation came across our phone and email, we went,” said neighbor Kathi Rowe. “It was pretty scary.”

Sunday night, they were notified that their homes were now in a Level 2 “Be Ready” evacuation zone, and they were allowed to return.

“Feels good to be home,” said Taunya. “Bags are still packed for the most part—the things that take a while to get together, pictures, photo albums—just in case. You never know.”

Nearly 400 firefighters have been making headway on the western side of the fire that’s closest to Estacada and Molalla. And more crews are on their way.

“We are happy to be home,” said Rowe. “We just pray for the people who lost their home. I can’t talk about it—it breaks my heart. We are going to help because we are blessed.”

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