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In an effort to ensure every person displaced by the Echo Mountain Wildfire is able to access the help they need, the county has contracted with the Olalla Center, a local nonprofit organization that has a long history of assisting Lincoln County residents in need.

“Helping people navigate through this difficult time is a priority for the county," Lincoln County Commission Chair, Kaety Jacobson said. "We do not want people falling through the cracks, without resources, and without a way to provide the necessities for themselves or their families. Olalla is an important component to ensuring our wildfire survivors identify every opportunity to rebound and thrive.”

A trusted community partner throughout the county, Olalla Center’s wildfire relief efforts are part of their ongoing community outreach and health programs. Alex Llumiquinga, Olalla Center Outreach Program Coordinator was on site from day one with the Red Cross assisting those affected by the wildfire.

Llumiquinga and Olalla Center’s outreach team together with their mental health professionals, Relief Nursery and Bravery Center staff, will be ensuring that along with the formative outreach roles they already play in serving vulnerable and marginalized people, that wildfire survivors, too, are made aware of federal, state, county, and community efforts that may be of service.

With the funding and backing of the County government, the Olalla Center has created the position of Wildfire Resource Navigator. A point person, who will work collaboratively to connect people affected by the Echo Mountain Wildfire with the resources, agencies and groups that can best serve their needs. Bethany Grace Howe, a long-time Lincoln City teacher, journalist and current Taft Elementary School parent, will fill this role.

Howe, who moved away from Lincoln City in 2015 to get her Ph.D at the University of Oregon, returned to Lincoln City the week after the wildfire to see what she could do to help.

“That first week after the evacuation orders were lifted, I probably spent five to six hours a day talking to residents impacted by the wildfires,” she said.

Eventually, those conversations resulted in talks with county and Olalla Center leadership, and the creation of the Wildfire Resource Navigator position. Her job, like everyone else involved in outreach via the Olalla Center is simple: to bring resources and people together.

“For instance, if you’re someone who’s worried, they have no place to go, we want to hear from you,” Howe said. “Just the same: if you’ve got a rental home to let us use, an RV to donate, property to share, anything like that, we’d love to hear from you, too.”

Howe said she’s available by text, phone or email anytime, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and plans to be in the county’s mini-MARC (suite 410), in the former Justice location in the Lincoln City Outlets, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each Wednesday through Friday, as long as there is a need.

Howe is also equipped to provide service to people at remote locations.

“I’ve already talked to the folks at the Salmon River Grange about us being able to spend some time out there,” she said, knowing that computers, emails, and even getting into town, can be difficult for some people. “When we’re not at our desks, we plan to be out in Otis, Rose Lodge - anywhere - that we think we can be of service.

“If the only way we can help someone is to come to them, we will. We just want people to know they’re not alone in this.”

Bethany Grace Howe - Wildfire Resource Navigator

· Available by text, phone or email anytime, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Text preferred, but not critical).

· 541-921-0408 - bethanyh@olallacenter.org.

· Available in-person at the county’s mini-MARC (Suite 410) Lincoln City Outlets, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

· Available for on-site assistance by appointment.

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