Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County (HFHLC) and Cascade Relief Team (CRT) are partnering to support survivors of the September 2020 Echo Mountain Complex Fire.
HCHLC recently closed its Lincoln City ReStore as they searched for a new location. “It was a really tough decision,” said Lucinda Taylor, executive director of HFHLC, “but the current location just isn’t viable anymore. We didn’t have room to move everything in our Newport ReStore, and it occurred to us that we had items we needed to get rid of, and many wildfire survivors were still rebuilding and remodeling their homes. . It seemed natural to invite survivors to the ReStore to take away anything that might help them on their healing journey.
With strong support from CRT and Salmon River Grange, HFHLC opened the Lincoln City ReStore on the last two Saturdays of February for a special event. Survivors of the fires had the chance to gather what they needed to make their new home a home. CRT provided vehicle loading assistance and delivered larger items to Otis homes.
To continue helping wildfire survivors, HFHLC is hosting a similar event open to the public. The community is invited to “shop” the Lincoln City ReStore for free this Saturday and Sunday, March 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a request for donations in lieu of payment. All donations will go to Cascade Relief Team to benefit fire survivors and their families. CRT will also be on hand to make deliveries for a nominal fee. Shipping will continue to be free for wildfire survivors.
Over two Saturdays, HFHLC served 45 households, donating sofas, dining tables, chairs, dressers, bed frames, bookshelves, lamps, light fixtures, household items, tools, doors, lumber and fencing. Landscaping for Love brought home a weed spreader, pots and brackets for a grow light system. The barn was able to secure cleaning supplies, shelving and other items to support operations and pass them on to survivors.
CRT President Marc Brooks, who has been part of the relief team since 2020, has been integral in coordinating the movement and delivery of items. He said the opportunity was tremendous for survivors, helping to offset the costs of returning home. “Transitioning from house to house can be tough, but events like these are amazing because they don’t have to spend their hard-earned money on the things they need,” Brooks said.
Josh Rebic, local Habitat volunteer, was also present at the event. He said the best part of the experience for him was “seeing people smile after they’ve chosen something.”
For many wildfire survivors, it was a chance to see familiar faces. CRT and the barn have played a major role in recovery efforts, providing access to food and household goods as well as referrals and support to access other resources. HFHLC helped fund early debris removal, and Taylor sits on the board of the Lincoln County Long-Term Recovery Group. With a grant from State Farm, HFHLC is building sheds to keep people’s belongings safe during reconstruction. Nicole Clarke, Otis resident and Habitat board member, said, “It feels good to be able to help our neighbors.”
The community is encouraged to support wildfire recovery efforts through a charitable contribution. Donate online at lcltrg.org/make-a-donation or mail your check to Lincoln County Extension, c/o Emily Blume (LCLTRG Treasurer), 1211 SE Bay Blvd., Newport, OR 97365.