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Evacuation center for victims of Cedar Creek Fire is as close to home as home can be

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These furry felines don’t seem to be bothered by their temporary home in the Lane Events Center. Greenhill Humane Society has put a system in place to ensure that all the animals in their custody are well cared for night and day. Herald photo

Everyone is welcome

Saturday afternoon saw the Lane County Events Center teeming with life. Both two-legged and four-legged evacuees received a similarly warm welcome as they arrived at the fairground’s pavilion. Both pets and barnyard animals found a safe place to weather out the smoke that has overtaken the greater Oakridge/Westfir area.

Displaced residents from the affected areas were likewise received warmly by members of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross has set up a location just adjacent to the animal shelter in a separate building.

Teams of volunteers were on hand to greet, register, and assist the incoming evacuees who have been displaced because of the effects of the Cedar Creek Fire.

The staff from Greenhill Humane society chart the intake and do periodic checks on all the cats and dogs in their care. Herald photo

Greenhill Humane Society providing top-notch care for your animals

Sasha Elliott, Director of Operations for Greenhill Humane Society, spoke to me about the process they employ to make sure that all animals are registered as they come in. A form that includes all necessary information about the pet and owner is filled out. That form is attached to the cage that will temporarily house the animal. Throughout the day, members of the Society’s team check on each and every pet.

The whole process was not unlike being admitted into a hospital. Every necessary detail being recorded upon check-in. A bedside chart for reviewing and updating. I’m sure all these “patients” would like to know their discharge date. They do get, however, unlimited visitation time.

Sasha Elliott, right, speaks with one of the workers tending to the temporary shelter for animals displaced by the Cedar Creek Fire. Herald photo

Ms. Elliott told me that they currently were housing about ninety pets; roughly divided equally between dogs and cats. She mentioned that they had received some lizards and other pets that they are keeping at their main location at 88530 Green Hill Road in Eugene.

Everything a pet might need

A gentleman displaced by the Cedar Creek Fire takes his dog out for a little fresh air and exercising. Greenhill Humane Society encourages people and their pets to visit regularly for both of their wellbeing. Herald photo

The Humane Society are providing large cages for all of the pets that are being brought in. Most of the pets are coming in travel carriers that are too small for prolonged housing. Food, water, and even medical attention is being provided for the animals by the Humane Society. Sasha mentioned that Greenhill attends to over 4,000 animals per year. Greenhill Humane Society has been caring for animals in Lane County since 1944. Greenhill is a private nonprofit and relies on donations for a majority of their budget.

American Red Cross steps up in big way

Going next door, I was greeted by Chad Carter. He is the designated spokesperson for the American Red Cross. As of Saturday afternoon, they were in receipt of about 100 displaced persons. Many were without shelter and therefore took refuge in the facilities provided. Some evacuees had campers, motor homes, or vans in which they can sleep. These people are also afforded all of the services that the Red Cross has established at the events center.

Chad, a very busy fellow, gave me a quick tour between answering questions by other staff members. A large room was set aside for relaxing. Tables and chairs are set up for lounging, as are a couple of tables set aside with phone chargers available. Snacks and water are provided throughout the day.

Medical assistance is also available to those who might need it. There is a system established so that medical prescriptions can be brought in to those who require them.

Sleeping area kept quiet

A separate room is provided for sleeping. I was asked not to intrude on the space, as some people sleep during the day. Cots and blankets are provided in this area. While chatting with Oakridge resident Mary Gustafson, she said that she had slept on one of the cot provided and that “my back wasn’t killing me this morning!”

He also noted that they are providing three meals a day to their guests, regardless if they are staying in the room provided for sleeping, or if they are in their vehicles in the parking lot. The meals, snacks, and other necessities are mainly provided by partner businesses from throughout Lane County.

Some Oakridge residents are taking the dislocation in stride. Left to right: Mary and Ken Gustafson and Mary Lee Sayre with their dogs outside of Lane Events Center in Eugene. Herald photo


From the donations, volunteers, staff, and organizations helping out, the outpouring of kind support at the evacuation site has, in this reporter’s opinion, been heartwarming to say the least.




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