Glide Revitalization: Partners in Oregon’s recovery
In September 2020, the Archie Creek Fire burned more than 131,000 acres along Highway 138. The fire devastated Glide, Oregon, a town of approximately 1,400 people, and the surrounding communities in Douglas County. More than 100 homes were lost in the fire.
Glide Revitalization, an all-volunteer organization, has been instrumental in the community’s recovery effort. Abbie Malek, Assistant Director of Glide Revitalization, described the night of the fire and the role her organization has played in the aftermath.
“When the fire hit, a ton of people contacted us that wanted to reach out and help,” Malek said. “It was a great time to see humanity really shine through and show up and do what needed to be done to help people they didn’t know.”
The Glide Middle School gymnasium was used as a staging area for emergency supplies and for coordination between various agencies at the local, state and federal level. The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Douglas County representatives were present to offer assistance. Malek said 10-20 trailers were immediately donated by Oregonians to families who lost homes.
Glide Revitalization worked with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Phase I cleanup and is currently serving as a key community partner with the Oregon Debris Management Task Force (DMTF) for Phase 2 of the cleanup.
“We were able to form relationships and work as a kind of liaison between those government agencies and our community members,” Malek said. “We built a long-term relationship with the County.”
This relationship fostered cooperation between Glide Revitalization, Douglas County and the DMTF and assisted in getting the Right of Entry forms for damaged or destroyed properties signed and turned in so property owners could take part in the state-managed, locally coordinated cleanup effort.
“That’s the bottom line, getting stuff done,” Malek said of her philosophy during the fire cleanup. “[But with this process] we kind of have to walk through these steps and make sure it is done right.”