☑ Weekly Update - May 14, 2021


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General Operation Updates


To review and complement the thorough three-step hazard tree evaluation process currently underway, an independent arborist has been hired to provide a program assessment and an additional level of oversight. The independent contractor, Galen Wright, brings more than thirty years of Pacific Northwest arboriculture and forestry experience, including in hazard tree diagnostics and analysis work. In addition to contracting with an independent arborist, the operation’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) required monitoring firm is launching an internal investigation as we also conduct an internal review related to previous claims made. This work is also scheduled be part of the Oregon Secretary of State’s annual audit plan and we look forward to sharing more about this important work.


We all collectively mourn the changing post-fire landscapes and recognize that many of these wildfire recovery operations are new to Oregon. We continue to take all claims related to this unprecedented operation seriously and look forward to continuing to deliver critical wildfire recovery work for Oregon. Following public comments and claims made by individuals, we immediately begin an internal review of any general claims made. Additionally, Galen Wright will provide an assessment review in approximately three weeks. If the outcome of a review confirms or substantiates any claim, additional and corrective action will be taken.


We recognize that the devastation left by the 2020 wildfires will continue to be traumatic for all Oregonians, especially for impacted communities and the nearly 4,000 people who lost their homes and livelihoods. As a place to turn and a pathway to resolve questions or concerns, we’ve provided tools to help during these challenging times. We encourage everyone to call our hotline at 503-934-1700 with any concerns or questions so that we can work together to help find solutions as we navigate this unprecedented time in our state’s history.


By the Numbers


Step 2 of removing tree hazards began in December 2020 and will progress through multiple impacted areas simultaneously. We estimate it will take 6-18 months to complete all properties. In total, this work will require marking and cutting more than 140,000 hazard trees and removing ash and debris from more than 1,400 participating properties.


Below is a summary of the work that has been completed thus far:




Current “By the Numbers” updates are available on the debris and tree removal data dashboard. The interactive status map on the same page provides a visual of all work underway.


Northern Operations



  • Beachie Creek/Lionshead Fire areas (Santiam River corridor, primarily in Marion and Linn counties, Highway 22 and adjacent area): Debris removal in Detroit, Gates, and the surrounding area continues. Moving from east to west, hazard tree work continues in three locations at milepost 38, and tree removal continues between mileposts 33-35, 51-52, and 57-58. Debris removal work at the Upward Bound Camp property continues and asbestos testing is underway. While motorists should expect long traffic delays, crews are working longer on weekdays to alleviate congestion on the weekends. We ask all motorists to use alternate routes if possible and to plan ahead for heavy traffic over Memorial Day weekend.

  • Echo Mountain Fire area (Lincoln County, Lincoln City area, Highway 18 and adjacent area): With 16 home sites left to clear, work is nearly complete. Pending final soil samples, it is anticipated the Echo Mountain Fire area will be complete in June.

  • Holiday Farm Fire area (Lane County, McKenzie River area, Highway 126): Debris removal and hazard tree operations are nearly 40% complete and crews continue significant progress on all recovery efforts. Hazard tree marking and tagging continues between mileposts 30-36 and 40-43. Hazard tree removal is underway at mileposts 33-35 and at local and county parks—including at Blue River Park—to help these areas reopen sooner. Community members and travelers will continue to see stark differences in the landscape. Travelers can expect long traffic delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

  • Riverside Fire area (Estacada area, Clackamas County, Highways 224 and 211): Nearly 30% of the debris removal work at the 32 home sites in the area is complete. Clackamas County and local partners have announced a May 31 deadline for Right of Entry participation forms to be submitted. Cutting and removal work continues on the west and east ends of the corridor as crews also cut trees at mileposts 33.1 and 34.1. Due to falling rocks, trees launching from steep slopes and other numerous safety hazards, Highway 224 remains closed.


Southern Operations


  • Almeda Drive Fire area (Medford/Talent/Phoenix, Jackson County, Highway 99 and Interstate 5): Debris removal work is estimated at 76% complete. Currently, 20 crews are working on mobile home, single-family home and business sites. Task Force crews continue to work with FEMA on transitional housing opportunities, including at the Coleman Creek Mobile Home Park site. Hazard tree marking and removal continues along the Bear Creek Greenway and near fire-damaged home sites. Air quality monitoring can be tracked through weekly operations updates at www.DebrisCleanupNews.com.

  • Archie Creek Fire area (Douglas County, Highway 138): Debris removal work is estimated at 40% complete and crews continue steady progress in the area. Work on the Rock Creek Hatchery nears completion in time for regional fish runs. Hazard tree crews continue work near milepost 28. Crews and Task Force leadership continue to assess and plan for protecting culturally significant sites in the corridor. Due to this, the pace of hazard tree removal work has paused momentarily. The Bureau of Land Management is preparing to re-open the corridor for river recreation for the summer months.

  • South Obenchain Fire area (Jackson County, northeast of Eagle Point, Highways 62 and 140): Right of Entry agreements are complete for 17 properties and work plans are drafted to begin soon.

  • Thielsen Fire area (eastern Douglas County, Highway 138): With warmer weather arriving, snow is melting and crews have started hazard tree evaluation, tagging, and marking work this weekend and will continue to ramp up in the coming weeks.

  • 242 Fire area (Klamath County, Highways 62 and 97): Hazard tree marking is complete at Collier State Park. Crews will begin hazard tree assessments on properties participating in the state debris cleanup program this week. Crews continue to work with Oregon State Parks, the tribal community, and other public land managers on best practices for accessing fire-damaged and marked trees in the area with many culturally significant and culturally modified trees on the landscape.



Topics of the Week


  • The House Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery heard a presentation from Mac Lynde on Friday, May 7th and today (May 14th) at 10 a.m. These updates will likely continue each Friday through the end of legislative session. The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery will also hear a short update on Monday, May 17th.

  • Debris Management Task Force leadership toured the Riverside Fire area Wednesday, May 12th with the U.S. Forest Service to discuss Highway 224 closure logistics, potential recreation opportunities and operation updates. Oregon State Senator Bill Kennemer and Estacada City Council President Paul Strobel attended to learn more about the significant progress and safety hazards in the fire area.

  • Coleman Creek Estates in Phoenix is the third mobile home park slated to receive FEMA short-term housing. With debris removal complete in this area, the goal is to move families into these transitional housing units in June.

  • Safety is a top priority for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Debris Management Task Force. Disrupting a work site or removing tags from fire-damaged trees is not only extremely dangerous, it’s also against the law, costs Oregonians money and slows down wildfire recovery progress.

  • Partners at the U.S. Forest Service recently posted a video about hazard tree assessments and removal on federally-owned and managed land. Many people are working in these fire-damaged corridors to support Oregon recovery, rebuilding, and reopening.

  • Fire-impacted corridors continue to be extremely busy with wildfire recovery activity. Please plan accordingly for Memorial Day weekend as we ask that all motorists help us help Oregon by using alternate routes. Motorists and community members should expect long delays. We strongly recommend checking TripCheck for the latest traffic delay updates and using alternate routes to avoid these areas.

  • On the doorstep of another potentially severe wildfire season, it takes everyone to avoid another 2020. We’re working with both federal and state wildfire and land management partners to plan for and coordinate efforts as fire season approaches. The Debris Management Task Force calls on all Oregonians to be extra fire-wise and work to ensure that no more lives are lost this year. While our crews help create fire resilient areas and defensible space on fire-damaged properties by removing adjacent hazard trees, take stock of your property before it’s too late. Bookmark Keep Oregon Green for more information and keep tabs on large fire activity in Oregon.


Air Quality Monitoring Report | 5/3 - 5/9


Local environmental health is one of our top priorities. In addition to conducting required asbestos testing in an efficient manner for all debris removal home sites, state contractors are visually monitoring and controlling dust to protect air quality during ash and debris cleanup work. If dust issues occur, our crews will stop work and fix the issue before resuming to protect public health. You can view the latest soil sampling FAQs on our news page. Questions about dust from private contractors are not part of state cleanup work and can be directed to local city and county public health departments.


Each week, contractors report their visual monitoring results, and the testing 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: 25

  • Results above action level: 0

  • Visual monitoring: no recorded dust levels that exceeded action levels

Archie Creek 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

Beachie Creek Fire

  • Number of properties that had air sampling: 2

  • Number of air samples collected: 6

  • 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 Liz McIntire with the DMTF at elizabeth.mcintire@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.