☑ Weekly Update - Feb. 19, 2021


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General Operation Updates

  • After a brief pause for winter storms and freezing temperatures, hazard tree and debris removal workers were back on the job early this week. Safety is our top priority and hazard tree work can be especially dangerous on steep slopes when snow and ice are present. To keep everyone out of harm’s way, safety precautions and navigating extreme weather are built into our timelines and operation plans.

  • The aftermath of the latest winter storm underscores the importance of removing post-wildfire hazard trees so that we can keep Oregon safe and moving. The heavy snow, rain and ice that blanketed Oregon toppled living trees, severed power lines and damaged homes. While temperatures are warming, this storm was a reminder of the importance of prioritizing safety and planning for potential hazards along Oregon roadways and in communities.

  • Winter storms added hundreds of additional hazard trees near Oregon roadways, but this is a separate operation and does not impact wildfire recovery hazard tree removal work. Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) tree crews and utility linemen are clearing storm-related hazards along roadways while power is restored. We’re coordinating with our partners, working hard to clear roads and remove storm debris. You might experience some lane closures as a result, so please slow down, look for flaggers and work signs and be prepared to stop.

  • Your cooperation helps us get the job done as quickly as possible. In active work areas, travelers are advised to stay alert near crews and follow traffic directions carefully. Expect traffic delays in travel time on weekdays and Saturdays, specifically during daylight hours. Traffic control will be provided by flaggers or a portable traffic signal.

  • Asbestos testing is required on all sites before debris can be removed and hauled. Our monitoring crew has increased the number of statewide testing staff available to help expedite this process, keeping testing on schedule.

By the numbers

We estimate it will take between 6-18 months to complete work on all properties. In total, this work will require marking and cutting nearly 290,000 hazard trees and removing ash and debris from approximately 1,600 participating properties.





Northern Oregon


Holiday Farm Fire area (Lane County, McKenzie River area, Highway 126): The busiest hazard tree removal operation is underway between Highway 126 mileposts 26-48, and that activity keeps increasing. Local utility companies and other crews are also working in the busy area, with storm cleanup happening simultaneously, so please expect traffic delays in the area. In total, an estimated 70,000 hazard trees will be removed from the corridor, a process already creating visible landscape changes. Chimney-tipping and other debris removal is underway on fire-impacted sites. Ongoing outreach and communications will continue. Conversations move forward with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) about moving hazard tree logs and logistics on USFS land. Note: Hazard tree work is underway between Highway 126 mileposts 36-38 in a former spotted owl nesting area. While work is being expedited to avoid nesting season, the Holiday Farm Fire burned any previous habitat conditions and spotted owls are not expected in the area.


Echo Mountain Fire area (Lincoln County, Lincoln City area, Highway 18 and adjacent area): Hazard tree removal work on impacted properties continues. Ash and debris removal on select properties is underway. Ongoing asbestos testing, site preparation work and property owner coordination is also underway. Lincoln County is leading the way sending direct mail and updates to property owners related to this work.


Note: Work moves forward as wet weather always plays a factor on the coast.


Riverside Fire area (Estacada area, Clackamas County, Highways 224 and 211): Crews have begun moving and “chipping” branches and woody debris. Hazard tree marking continues in state right-of-way areas and crews are mobilizing workers and equipment while identifying staging areas. Ash and debris removal operations include environmental and asbestos testing, placing address signs and coordinating with property owners.


Beachie Creek/Lionshead fire areas (Santiam River corridor, primarily in Marion and Linn counties, Highway 22 and adjacent area): The Detroit Lake area received more than 30 inches of snow, requiring pauses in work. Ash and debris removal is in the early stages and hazard trees continue to be marked on impacted properties and the surrounding area. Chimney-tipping work continues on impacted properties.



Southern Oregon

Almeda Drive Fire area (Medford/Talent/Phoenix, Jackson County, Highway 99 and I-5): This area remains a top priority for the southern Oregon operation as cleanup at a total of 444 lots is now in progress in some form. Work on 210 lots in Phoenix at the Bear Lake Estates mobile home park will finish this week. Crews are working on asbestos testing and removal work to allow for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) direct housing at the Talent Mobile Estates mobile home park (91 lots). Simultaneously, work is underway at the Mountain View Estates mobile home park (143 lots) in Talent. Air quality monitoring continues for the safety of those remaining in the area.


Archie Creek Fire area (Douglas County, Highway 138): Hazard tree removal work east of Roseburg is underway via tree marking and ongoing discussions with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and local partners. Staff continue to build strong relationships and outreach channels through regional partnerships like Glide Revitalization to support locally-coordinated efforts. Ash and debris prep work continues by placing address signs.


Thielsen Fire area (eastern Douglas County, Highway 138): Due to higher elevation snow, operations will increase later in the spring with a focus on hazard tree removal as warmer weather arrives. Contractor coordination and planning work continues.


242 Fire area (Klamath County, Highways 62 and 97): Planning work and coordination with Klamath County continues. We continue to plan for cultural resources and archaeological and environmental constraints in the area, and our staff are discussing potential partnerships with Oregon State Parks for cleanup on state park lands.



TOPICS OF THE WEEK

Legislative Forum

Task Force and ODOT leadership hosted a legislative forum meeting on Wednesday, February 17. The House Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery heard moving and emotional public testimony on Wednesday night from wildfire survivors in southern Oregon.

Air Quality Monitoring Report | Feb. 8 - Feb. 13

Crew are controlling dust and watching out for dust in the air at every debris removal location. This “visual monitoring” is an important step to keep everyone safe. They also collect air samples near some active sites and nearby communities, which are then sent to a laboratory for testing.


Each week, contractors report their visual monitoring results, and the labs report their sample test results for active work areas. Recent results include:


Almeda Fire

Number of properties that had air sampling: 5

Number of air samples collected: 15

Results above action level: 0

Visual monitoring: no recorded dust levels that exceeded action levels


Echo Mountain Fire

Number of properties that had air sampling: 1

Number of air samples collected: 3

Results above action level: 0

Visual monitoring: no recorded dust levels that exceeded action levels


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The “action level” is the threshold for action at a site, or from a lab test result. Learn more about action levels, how we control dust and test air samples in our air quality monitoring FAQ.


For specific air quality monitoring data, email Matt Noble, Public Affairs Specialist for the Debris Management Task Force, at matt.a.noble@odot.state.or.us.

If you have questions about hazard tree removal in your community, our hotline can help point you in the right direction. Please access information from your local county government first, and then call our hotline at 503-934-1700 if you need more information.

Wildfire waste and debris removal

The State of Oregon is working with federal, state and local partners to remove hazardous waste, and ash and debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires safely, efficiently, and as quickly as possible. The Oregon Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality and Emergency Management are leading the effort, with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assistance.