The City of Cottage Grove opened its Community Center on Wednesday afternoon to begin accepting donations for people impacted by the area’s wildfires.
“The goal is to help affected members who have been displaced by the fires and whatever immediate needs they have as they’re evolving,” said Cottage Grove Police Sergeant Shawn Branstetter, who coordinated the donation drive.
After noticing online efforts of Cottage Grove residents to help those in need, Branstetter decided to use the police department’s Facebook platform to better organize the response.
Branstetter himself will be taking Community Center collections up to the Springfield area.
While the items are being collected as part of a relief effort for people displaced in the Thurston/Springfield area, anyone who has been affected are encouraged to make use of the collection.
“Plenty of people who have been affected by it are in our community now … or have family members who have been affected in the Springfield and Thurston area,” said Branstetter. “It’s close enough that affects everybody.”
Hotels in Cottage Grove have filled up in the past couple days and, as a result, tents have risen to the top of the list of needs as more displaced families seek shelter.
With a timeline for containment of the fires still not determined, the donation drive is likely to continue for some time.
“It’s going to stay up and be able to receive donations until the need subsides,” said Branstetter. “I suspect that’s going to be weeks.”
Due to the changing nature of the emergency, the list of needed items is likely to be regularly updated.
As of the morning of Sept. 10, the list of needed goods includes the following:
The city is asking donors to coordinate the drop off of items with the Cottage Grove Community Center by calling 541-942-1185.
“As this thing progresses, it’s a pretty devastating situation for Oregon and, specifically, this portion of Oregon,” said Branstetter. “But Cottage Grove residents I’m sure are going to step up and help people as much as they can.”