A $7,500 challenge grant from Lincoln County will support the continuation of a large-scale volunteer cleanup effort that began this week in the Panther Creek neighborhood that was ravaged in last months’ Echo Mountain complex wildfire. On Monday, Oct. 26, a volunteer cleanup effort began that was organized by neighborhood resident Corey Rivera, who lost his own home in the fire. Dozens of volunteers have descended on the neighborhood at a staging area on North Pony Trail Road, many with heavy equipment and chain saws. A mobile kitchen has been set up to feed the volunteers, who have come from all over the Northwest.
In a matter of days, several tons of steel has been cut and moved, many tons of green waste has been burned, fire waste has been bagged for legal disposal, and many damaged trees have been dropped.The operation will continue through this weekend and beyond if resources are available. Although all labor and meals are being donated, there are out-of-pocket expenses, such as equipment rentals and dumping fees. In order to support continuation of the cleanup effort beyond this week, Lincoln County is providing a $7,500 challenge grant, and encouraging community members to join in supporting this effort.
“I’ve met dozens of survivors of the fire who feel powerless to control their future, even their lives,” said Bethany Grace Howe, Wildfire Resource Navigator for the Olalla Center. “Corey, through his faith in God, his family, his neighbors, and his community, has given many people back a sense of hope and purpose. More, he’s started something that all of us can play a part in continuing to support.” Individuals or groups who would like to donate to the continuation of the cleanup effort through Cascade Relief Team, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.