Amid Wildfire Devastation, Acts of Kindness Abound

They say a person — and a community — shows their true character during times of challenge and strife. That has certainly been true of the Canby area this week.

This was on display during active wildfire events, like the blaze that devastated two homes and multiple vehicles on Highway 213 and Spangler Road Tuesday night.

“There was this water truck going by — that was my neighbor, Brett,” said one resident of the Carus area, south of Canby. “He made 20 trips, back and forth, and every time he sees an ember or something, he jumps out with a shovel and knocks it down.”

The whole neighborhood came together, he told The Canby Current.

“Text and good communication,” he said. “That’s what it’s going to take. Everybody who thinks they’re going to do it by themselves: You’re going to need your neighbors.”

But the community kindness was visible everywhere, as neighbors lent a hand to assist with evacuations, donated food, water and supplies to firefighters on the front lines, and opened up their homes, businesses and churches to evacuees.

Bethany Church on South Ivy Street announced Wednesday morning that it would take in RVs, mobile homes and vehicles that had no place else to go (or park).

The Wild Hare Saloon followed suit, opening up its overflow parking lot (the original Harefest site) to the thousands of Clackamas County residents who were estimated to be on level 3 evacuation as of Wednesday afternoon (including the city of Estacada).

The American Red Cross was providing triage and check-in services for evacuees at Clackamas Community College, Sandy High School and the Clackamas County Fairgrounds, which was taking in more than people.

The fairgrounds began taking in horses from evacuated or threatened areas late Monday night — as a devastating series of fires, spurred on extreme dry conditions and 40 mph winds, ravaged the Molalla, Colton and Oregon City areas.

By Wednesday, the grounds’ barns looked like somebody forgot to tell them the fair was canceled this year. Its stalls and arenas were bursting with over 500 animals — mostly horses, but also donkeys, llamas, yaks, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and every other livestock imaginable.

“There’s animals stuffed away in every nook and cranny down there,” said Jason Paolo, of Anderson Hay & Grain and Red Chair Farm in Canby, who spent over six hours helping build pens at the fairgrounds Tuesday.

“It’s basically like the fair,” he said with a laugh. “I told them the only thing it’s missing is the funnel cakes and charging admission.”

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His company, Anderson Hay & Grain Co. of Aurora, also donated 20 tons of alfalfa to feed the masses on Wednesday. Other community members that are able to donate feed to assist with the emergency shelter would be welcome.

Paolo, who is also president of the Canby Rod & Gun Club, said the club is open to receive RVs as well and as hook-ups for about 40 — first come, first served.

Route 99E Roadhouse announced it was offering 25 percent off meals to anyone who has been displaced by the Clackamas Wildfires. The restaurant also has room for truck and trailer storage for those who need it.

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Route 99 Roadhouse is offering 25 percent off meals to anyone who has been displaced by the #clackamaswildfires. The restaurant also has room for truck and trailer storage for those who need it. #clackamasfires #prayfororegon #staysafe #thankyou

Zoar Lutheran Church (190 SW 3rd Ave., Canby) is also welcoming evacuees who are in need of shelter and food. Contact Pastor Michelle Manicke (zoar-pastor@outlook.com) for more information.

A number of community members have wanted, quite understandably, to show their appreciation to area firefighters, who have been risking their lives and working round-the-clock since the crisis began on Labor Day.

Tanner Cutsforth, of Cutsforth’s Market, said he received a call Tuesday asking if the store could help feed personnel for Canby, Aurora and Clackamas fire districts.

“Absolutely,” he recalled saying. “Lots and lots of sandwiches coming right up.”

The store donated over 100 sandwich meals to the Clackamas County Fairgrounds for evacuees and to area fire agencies Wednesday.

“You know, that’s just kind of the name of the game for our family,” Cutsforth said. “Whenever there’s somebody who needs help, we like to be there on the front lines.”

Local law firm Reif & Hunsaker stopped by later and added a cart full of Gatorades and cases of water for the firefighters to go with the sandwiches and drinks Cutsforth’s had already donated. Other businesses, including Oliver Insurance, and private citizens made contributions as well.

“People like to help,” Cutsforth said.

For those hoping to contribute to the effort, contact the store at 503-266-2016.

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