MOLALLA, Ore. (KOIN) — As firefighters continue battling the Riverside Fire, community-led efforts to keep the people of Molalla safe are gaining momentum.
Thick smoke blanketed Molalla on Wednesday but volunteers were hard at work inside Grace Church, handing out essentials to people who have been displaced.
“We have first aid kits, we have shoes, we have clothing. We have sleeping bags, cots, pillows, blankets — basically anything to get on their feet,” said volunteer Amy Jensen.
Around the city, some residents have yet to return home despite evacuation restrictions being eased.
“A lot of our residents are still evacuated and don’t want to return until the air quality maybe gets a little better,” said Molalla Police Chief Frank Schoenfeld.
With help from neighboring law enforcement agencies, officers have increased patrols in the area to keep looters out of evacuated homes.
“With the flood of law enforcement that we’ve put into the city, they’ve been checking on suspicious vehicles, trespassers,” Schoenfeld said.
KOIN 6 News has learned there’s been a personal effort to save homes along the outskirts of Molalla over the past 10 days. The residents who have been helping in the effort declined to go on camera.
“We don’t want any recognition,” explained Michelle Habeck. “This is a tight-knit group of friends and family that are working to save our homes and livelihoods.”
Foothills Community Church is accepting donations for Molalla fire relief. Those impacted by the fire can also fill out an online application for aid.
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