September 14th, 2020 at the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon —currently the worst air quality in the world.
Oregon is on fire. The most destructive wildfires on record in the state with over a million acres currently ablaze and dangerous air hanging over our cities. A result of climate change and forest mismanagement. Even in these dire conditions, Oregonians are showing strength of community by banding together to support evacuees and rescue workers. But much more is still needed, as we are only beginning to understand the devastation. Here are some ways to help make an immediate difference to those who've lost so much during this horrific time.
Because of increased safety measures for COVID-19, storing, sorting, cleaning and distributing donated items could be risky. But the public can help by making a financial donation.
- Northwest Response Fund —American Red Cross and news stations KGW8 (Portland) and KING-TV (Seattle) created this to support those affected by wildfires in both Oregon and Washington. Donating is as easy as texting the word “relief” to 503-226-5088.
- Southern Oregon Fire Relief Fund —started by the Rogue Credit Union to match up to $50,000 in relief donations for people impacted by the Almeda/Glendower and Obenchain fires. Donations will go to local nonprofits that are assisting impacted families and communities.
- United Way of Jackson County Fire Fund —supporting long-term recovery for families, covering direct expenses related to their losses. You can donate via PayPal, mailing a check (60 Hawthorne St., Medford, OR 97504) or making a deposit at any First Interstate Bank.
- United Way of Lane County Wildfire Response Fund —providing immediate assistance to local nonprofits that are assisting families and individuals who are impacted by the fires in Lane County.
- United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley —collecting monetary donations for its Mid-Valley Wildfire Relief Fund.
- United Way of the Columbia-Willamette —launched its Wildfire Response and Recovery Fund.
- Salvation Army Cascade Division’s Emergency Disaster Services —activated across Oregon, providing meals at seven evacuee locations across the state. You can help their efforts by donating online, by phone or via mail.
- Wildland Firefighter Foundation —raising money to help injured firefighters and families of those killed in the line of duty.
- Keep Oregon Green —donations will go to educating the public about wildfire prevention, with 100% of the money directed towards its outreach efforts and not operating costs.
- American Red Cross —right now the most urgent needs are for licensed health professionals, blood donor support, shelter support and virtual positions. The organization’s six blood banks in Oregon are also accepting donations.
- Evacuation sites that are requesting volunteers. Volunteer tasks vary from unloading donations, traffic control, staging support and sanitation.
- Livestock Experience? There is still some capacity for livestock and farm animals at Oregon State Fairgrounds, Polk County Fairgrounds, Yamhill County Fairgrounds and Livestock County Commons in Newport. If you find a displaced pet, call the Oregon Humane Society at 503-585-5900.
- Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website lists verified disaster relief organizations to volunteer with or donate to, plus it hosts an interactive emergency resources map that indicates groups active in each affected county.