“Our hearts are breaking; the Gorge is Oregon’s crown jewel,” - Chair Kafoury, others update press on Eagle Creek Fire Emergency

September 5, 2017

UPDATE EAGLE CREEK FIRE: Wednesday, Sept. 6, 8:15 a.m.

Officials with Multnomah County, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office and Oregon Department of Transportation updated the media on: evacuations, shelter, air quality, and how members of the public can help.

The Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia Gorge has grown to 10,000 acres. Crews are making progress protecting structures but fire officials expect flames from the rapidly moving blaze will grow.  

A Level 3 (Go) evacuation has expanded from Warrendale, Dodson, Larch Mountain, Latourell and Bridal Veil to Corbett, east of the 38700 block of the Columbia River Highway.  A Level 2 (Pack and get ready to go) evacuation has been issued west of 38700 block of the Columbia River Highway to the Sandy River and Troutdale residents east of 257th and north of Stark, west of the Sandy River are on a Level 1 (Be aware and prepare for possible evacuation) evacuation.    

“A Level 1 evacuation is simply to be aware of what is going on,” said Multnomah County Sheriff’s Sergeant Bryan White. “If you live in this area continue to monitor media reports and continue to monitor [Multnomah County] Emergency Management and Sheriff's Office for updates.”

I-84 is closed in both directions from Troutdale to Hood River. State Route 14 on the Washington side is closed to all commercial traffic; passenger vehicles are still permitted.

Image of Troutdale

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury issued a declaration of emergency at 5:42 a.m. Tuesday morning. The emergency declaration applies to unincorporated areas of Multnomah County in the Gorge from Gresham and Troutdale east.

“Our hearts are breaking; the Gorge is Oregon’s crown jewel,” said Kafoury. “This gives us an opportunity to get the resources we need to do what we can to protect resources and property.“

An evacuation shelter is open at the Yoshida Event Center at Mt. Hood Community College located at 3691 NE 17th Drive, Gresham OR.

Evacuation areas

Current Evacuation Levels for Eagle Creek Fire as of 09/06/2017 7:00am 
Evacuation levels remain unchanged overnight. Please continue to monitor MCSO for any changes. 

Warrendale - Level 3 GO! 
Dodson - Level 3 GO! 
Larch Mountain- Level 3 GO! 
Latourell- Level 3 GO! 
Bridal Veil - Level 3 GO! 
Corbett, East of the 38700 block of Columbia River Highway - Level 3 GO! 
Corbett/Springdale, West of 38700 block of the Columbia River Highway to the Sandy River - Level 2 Be Set. 
Troutdale, East of 257th, North of Stark, West of the Sandy River -- Level 1 Get Ready 

Evacuation shelter is established at Mt. Hood Community College located at 3691 NE 17th Drive, Gresham OR. 

How to help

Emergency responders and County officials are fielding hundreds of calls from the public on how they can help. County officials thanked the community for the outpouring of support but asked the public not to deliver material donations and instead consider making a financial gift to partners like the American Red Cross Cascade Region.   

“We’ve received hundreds of calls to ask people what they can do,” said Kafoury. “We will release specific information as to how community members can assist and actions you can take to help as they become available.”

How you can protect yourself from the poor air

Multnomah County Health officials stressed the unhealthy air quality impacting the Willamette Valley. While air quality may get better by Wednesday afternoon as winds push smoke east from the Eagle Creek blaze, the National Weather Service issued a statewide air quality alert through noon Friday.

Those at higher risk of health problems from poor air quality include:

  • People with chronic lung or heart conditions
  • The elderly
  • And children  

“Call your doctor or healthcare provider,” said County Communications Director Julie Sullivan-Springhetti. “Follow the advice of your health care provider. Avoid strenuous activity outside. The best way to avoid breathing problems or other symptoms when air quality is poor is to stay inside. If you must be outdoors avoid intense activity.”

Sullivan-Springhetti asked members of the public to avoid contributing to poor air quality by minimizing driving.

So far, approximately 400 residences have been given a level 3 evacuation notice as of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. More than a dozen first responders from agencies across throughout the Northwest are helping in the effort.

Chair Kafoury tours evacuation shelter at  the Yoshida Event Center at Mt. Hood Community College
Chair Kafoury tours evacuation shelter at the Yoshida Event Center at Mt. Hood Community College

“I was just at the Yoshida Community, at our shelter, watching as the sports team at the community college were setting up for the folks who stayed there last night and the folks who are staying there tonight,” said Kafoury. “I want to send my heartfelt thanks to all of the first responders. I want to thank the community members.“

Resources

For general information on the Eagle Creek Fire call 211

For all fire and evacuation information call (503) 823-2323

For information on evacuation locations and levels visit the Multnomah County Sheriff Office FlashAlert page : https://www.flashalert.net/id/MCSO

Follow MCSO on twitter and facebook

If you plan on travel, check the Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington Department of Transportation websites and trip cams prior to leaving.  Road closures and poor visibility may cause detours or longer travel times.

Check the DEQ’s current air quality conditions or call 503-229-6397.  Follow Oregon DEQ on Facebook or Twitter

Read the Oregon Smoke Blog for the latest on fires across the state

Read the latest on the Eagle Creek Fire.

To find a cooling center, check out:

Help For When It's Hot  

Interactive Map of Cool Spaces

http://211info.org

Commissioner Lori Stegmann visits with community members impacted by Eagle Creek Fire

Photo of conditions near Mount Hood Community College Shelter