What had come to be a sanctuary for the unwanted, hurt and misplaced cats, birds, bunnies, dogs and anything else that came its way, was the home of Stacy and Jim Kerr in Otis.
Unfortunately, in the aftermath of the Echo Mountain Complex fire, that sanctuary has been lost and several rehabilitating animals perished.
Stacy and Jim are long time members of the North Lincoln County community. They moved to Lincoln City as small business owners, and then went on to both work for North Lincoln Sanitary, says Stacy’s sister Lesley Crowe.
“You’ll find Stacy at the front desk and Jim driving his routes,” Crowe said.
After living on the Siletz Bay in a renovated fishing cabin, the couple bought their dream property atop Highland View lane, above Otis.
Jim is an avid and well known kite surfer and is often seen on the Lincoln City beaches. And according to Crowe, he is even a local hero that has saved children and adults from drowning in the ocean.
“When rescue crews were unable to be available in time, Jim didn’t think twice about diving in and swimming out,” Crowe said. ”He brought a mama her boy back to shore... and did it all with a smile, wanting nothing more than a high five from the boy... no kudos or special recognition required for someone like Jim.”
On their property, Jim and Stacy built a sanctuary for animals. They worked with local animal clinics and provided a caring home to numerous hurt, broken, abandoned and homeless animals in the community. Crowe said their animals have been their greatest joy, which made last week’s evacuation all the more difficult.
“They lost multiple pets that they didn’t have time to get out the house before fleeing,” Crowe said. “My sister didn’t even grab her purse. Everything they love is gone. They are lucky they made it out at all… and amidst their trauma, their hearts break most for the animals they couldn’t save.”
However, Crowe said the Kerr’s are a resilient couple and are already making plans to rebuild their sanctuary as soon as they are able to return to their property.
“They will continue to care for the hurt and discarded creatures even as they are trying to rebuild their own lives,” Crowe said. “But they might need some help. And while they truly do not want help for themselves, I think they could use help to continue their stewardship of the animals they love.”
To help the Kerr’s, North Lincoln Sanitary has set up a GoFundMe account with hopes of funding their sanctuary rebuild. The page can be found at https://bit.ly/3khP7qM.
“I know the community they love and support will rebuild and get through this,” Crowe said.