One year later: Riverside Fire ‘changed how we live’

Wildfires

Riverside Fire torched Clackamas County one year ago

ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN) — There are still hot spots burning in Estacada one year after the Riverside Fire torched a large swath of Clackamas County.

Peter Bush said he spotted smoke and flames in the distance a few weeks back and panicked. But it was the fire still burning under stumps and roots in remote areas that the Forest Service said is highly unlikely to spread.

Peter and his wife, Lisa Fuller, lost their home to the Riverside Fire, including his shop where he made marimbas. They fled as the towering flames raced toward their property.

There was nothing left when they returned. They vowed to start over, rebuild on the same spot. But the slow pace of permitting and clearing debris slowed them down considerably.

Peter Bush and Lisa Fuller lost their Estacada home to the Riverside Fire, September 17, 2020 (KOIN)

When KOIN 6 News visited in March, digging had begun on the foundation for their new home. Six months later, a roof is visible as visitors drive up. The house is taking shape.

“I had hoped to be in my new shop by now,” he told KOIN 6 News this week.

The Fullers hoped to move in this week, the one-year anniversary of the fire. That’s not happening.

“It’s been a really hard year for supply chain workers available,” they said. “Cost of plywood we had to get at the height when we had to frame this house is when the prices were the highest.”

During the past several months they’ve had a chance to make a lot of changes, to protect themselves if there is another fire.

“It changed how we live. There are things I think about now I never thought about before,” Lisa said. “When we were designing the house we were thinking of exits like this.”

Regardless, the master marimba maker is back in business. He’s working out of a family member’s garage, filling orders using new equipment paid for through a GoFundMe account.

Their house was insured. The business was not. but he’s not quitting.

Lisa Fuller and Peter Bush are building a new house in Estacada, September 7, 2021 (KOIN)

“I’ve always been a wood worker. I just love it. I don’t feel ready to stop,” he said.

For now, Lisa is busy farming on nearby land.

Starting over is hard and is taking time. Peter and Lisa Fuller have a new target date for moving in to their new home.

“We’re praying for Thanksgiving.”

Lisa Fuller and Peter Bush stand in the frame of the home being built in Estacada, one year after the Riverside Fire destroyed their previous home, September 7, 2021 (KOIN)

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