Last 2020 Labor Day wildfire survivor moves out of shelter, finds long-term housing
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Nearly three years after the devastating wildfires tore through several Oregon counties, the final survivor being housed by the Oregon Department of Human Services has moved into either long-term or permanent housing.
The Holiday Farm fire in Lane County was one of a series of fires burning simultaneously across the state in early September of 2020.
The 423 Holiday Farm survivors had been living in state-provided shelters since Dec. 31, 2020, with the last of those individuals securing long-term housing on April 28, 2023. ODHS said Lane County was the last county ravaged by the 2020 wildfires to still have residents in emergency wildfire shelters.
“Receiving notice that the last Holiday Farm Fire survivor in shelter has transitioned to either long-term or permanent housing is an important step in the recovery effort and worth celebrating,” said Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch. “We know the recovery process is far from over for many survivors and Lane County will continue, along with our partners at OHCS and other agencies, to support the rebuilding and recovery work happening in the McKenzie River Valley.”
In 2022, more than 500 survivors of the 2020 wildfires were still living in shelters provided by ODHS.
Immediately following the fires, the American Red Cross provided food and shelter to residents in the eight counties where wildfires were burning. ODHS stepped in to help provide meals in October 2020 before also taking over and providing shelter starting on Dec. 31, 2020.
"Every survivor’s circumstances were different," ODHS said in a release. "Some people were well insured and needed little to no help. Others did not have those kinds of resources or understanding of the system and requirements to rebuild and recover. ODHS, along with disaster case management partner agencies, served a total of 3,928 families statewide."
Despite this major milestone, ODHS noted the state and many Oregonians are still recovering from the 2020 wildfires.