ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN) — Mike Miller fled his Estacada home about a week ago to a friend’s home in Happy Valley. He hadn’t been back since.
“As soon as I heard ‘Level 2,’ we were heading home,” Miller told KOIN 6 News.
He and other residents returned under a smoky red-orange sun, some finding nothing left but rubble.
Miller was lucky. His home survived. He and others came home to empty pantries and many stopped at a donation site for much needed supplies.
“We don’t have any stores open right now and we didn’t know where to get food,” he said. “This is will keep us going for the rest of the week and then some. This is great. Now we don’t have to worry about food for the rest of the week.”
The same held true for David Hamersley, who picked up some hot meals for his kids.
“It feels wonderful. This is a blessing,” Hamersley said. “I just think this is wonderful. This is what people need right now, a little support. A lot of people lost a lot.”
Some of those who joined the long line of cars were dropping off donations to feed the cause.
“We just put out donations for dog and cat food,” sadi Krystal Breece of Portland. “We got chicken food and loaded up the truck and came out here.”
Kloui Breece-Kinder wanted to collect items on behalf of her softball team, the Rose City Darlings.
“I think the animals and people deserve this stuff because of everything that’s going on right now,” she said.
“I’ve been in similar situations,” said Donnie Johnston of Portland. “Everyone is always willing to help me so I’m happy to return the favor.”
The Estacada Community Watch Group, off Highway 211, will be open overnight. It is staffed by volunteers, proving that the fire has not snuffed out the spirit of this tight-knit community.
“I’ve been in Estacada for 26 years,” Miller said. “This is just unbelievable and they always come together. It’s just good to see.”
If you’re interested in helping at the donation site, please contact the organizers through this Facebook page.