First evacuees from Oakridge area arrive at Lane Community College

The first evacuees from the Oakridge-Westfir area began arriving at the Lane Community College temporary evacuation center on Friday evening.

The Oakridge-Westfir area is under a Level 3 “Go Now” evacuation order due to the Cedar Creek Fire.

At the fairgrounds, Lane County Deputy Director of Health and Human Services Kachina Inman said she expects her team to work through the night to help evacuees.

Get the latest wildfire updates:Level 3-go notice now ordered for Oakridge, Westfir, High Prairie

Officials are asking all evacuees to notify the county so they can be directed to resources. Checking in with the county will help ensure residents can be connected to resources after the fire, Inman said.

Signs direct evacuees where to check in at Lane Community College on Friday.  September 9, 2022, in Eugene, Oregon, after the towns of Oakridge, Westfir and High Prairie received a Tier 3 "go now" evacuation notice that evening.

“We want to make sure we’re connecting them to the right resources,” Inman said. “We really try to get people here who don’t have a place to go.”

People who can register on their phone and who have housing must register online with the county. There are devices at the LCC that evacuees can use.

Evacuees can connect with the county, as well as other resources, at https://bit.ly/CedarCreekFireInfo

Mavis Pas, left, checks in with staff at the Lane Community College Evacuation Center while trying to find her husband after evacuating from Oakridge Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, in Eugene, Ore.

Mavis Pas spent all day evacuating horses and other animals from Oakridge, but by the time she was ready to return for her husband, Level 3 evacuation was in effect. Pas hasn’t heard from him since – so now she’s looking for him at the LCC.

“I don’t know if my husband is here or not,” she said in tears. “He’s 90. He didn’t want to come with me in the car. He said, ‘Come back and get me’.” Well, I came back and it was already level 3. They said they were going to get him, but I didn’t hear anything.”

Not said she doesn’t know what’s next or where she’s going.

“I have no idea. I have no idea. I really didn’t expect it to come to this,” Pas said.

Lane County's Colton Mobley brings a pair of rabbits to a staging area at the Lane County Fairgrounds for animals evacuated from the Oakridge area.

County Fairgrounds serving as overnight shelter

Pas brought her and her friends’ horses to the Lane County Fairgrounds, which accepts large and small animals from evacuees. Around 9 p.m., a dozen horses and goats joined three ducks, a hen and three rabbits at the makeshift staging area for evacuated animals.

Those who have nowhere to go or a way to register should come to the LCC first.

“If people come here and need a place to stay tonight, we’ll sort it out and we’ll send them to the (Lane County) fairgrounds and put them there,” Inman said.

Lester Roney of the American Red Cross in Eugene responded from his home in Springfield to help set up overnight shelter at the Lane County Fairgrounds after a Level 3 evacuation order was issued for Oakridge under threat from the Cedar Creek Fire.

An emergency center where people can stay overnight is being set up at the fairgrounds, she said. People will also be allowed to camp overnight at the LCC.

Springfield’s Lester Roney joined others with the Eugene American Red Cross as they hastily set up dozens of cots in a fairground pavilion as the first Oakridge evacuees arrived by bus.

Ron Loughrey made the decision to evacuate to Eugene of Oakridge during the Level 2 advisory earlier today.

“I have mobility issues and thought it best to leave early,” Loughrey said, as he arrived just before 9 p.m. Friday at the Lane County Fairgrounds on a bus with two other people.

Ron Loughrey arrives at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene with the first bus of evacuees arriving from Oakridge as the Cedar Creek Fire advanced towards Oakridge.  Loughrey decided to board a bus to Eugene during the Tier 2 evacuation order which has since moved to Tier 3 "go now" to remark.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Contact journalist Adam Duvernay at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @DuvernayOR.

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