PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Gary Deardorff lost the home he built over years in a matter of minutes when wildfires swallowed up large chunks of Clackamas County.
Doubletree Farm in Molalla was one of the properties ripped apart by the Beachie Creek Fire. More than half of the 5,000-acre property has been burned. Some spots were still on fire Tuesday.
Deardorff, the second-generation owner of Doubletree Farm, harvests timber used to build homes. The full extent of the damage to the land’s timber won’t be clear for a couple of weeks.
“It’s a lot to take in,” Deardorff said. “It’s a lot of planting maybe that has gone to waste but we’ll work at it. We’ll salvage what we can.”
But the home Deardorff spent eight years building is a profound loss. Several pieces of furniture had been imported from Germany in honor of his wife’s heritage. Those precious items, the home, his wife’s Cadillac — are now just charred ruins.
“It isn’t something that’s just going to be fixed real quickly. This is devastation. This is going to take years in my case,” he said.
It’s still too early to tell how many other families are in similar positions. But Deardorff knows he’s far from being a lone victim.
“This isn’t just my story,” he said. “It’s a lot of people’s story.”