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Governor Kate Brown Speaks With Businesses Affected By Chetco Bar Fire

Curry County Commissioners said Sunday the Chetco Bar fire is officially out and now it is time to shift focus from the fire to recovery efforts.

Posted: Oct. 30, 2017 5:37 AM
Updated: Oct. 30, 2017 5:37 AM

BROOKINGS, Ore. -- Curry County Commissioners said Sunday the Chetco Bar fire is officially out and now it is time to shift focus from the fire to recovery efforts.

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During the devastating Chetco Bar fire a local food bank stepped up. The Brookings-Harbor Food Bank served 4 times more people than usual. While Governor Kate Brown was in town Sunday, the Food Bank’s director gave her a tour and explained how it helped the community when it was in great need. The director Pamela Winebarger said it served more than 4,700 people in a month and a half when the Chetco Bar fire was burning.

"Helping all those people in this small little building was tough. Getting parking for all those people was tough. But you know we did it and would we do it again tomorrow, absolutely," said Brookings Harbor Food Bank Director Pamela Winebarger.

Although the fire is out, the Food Bank is now serving between 2,000 and 3,000 people a month. Winebarger said this is because many people in the area still need help. If you would like to donate to the food bank so it can continue to help Chetco Bar fire victims, go here.

Governor Kate Brown also held a listening session with local businesses Sunday at Brookings City Hall. They talked about just how much the Chetco Bar fire has impacted their businesses and the areas entire economy.

Val Early is just one of the business owners whose livelihood was affected by the Chetco Bar fire.
She and her husband own two businesses, the guide service, early fishing and salmon run golf course. They had to evacuate and close their businesses for eleven days.

"You can't recover from a loss of income like that. You have to just keep moving forward. You can't recover form that at all," said Early.

The State of Oregon has created the Economic Recovery Council. Governor Kate Brown said the goal is for the council to figure out what the community needs and help it recover.

"We're working hard on are there some specific tools that we can provide, are there some investments that we can make that will help with recovery and rebuilding efforts in the community," said Governor Brown.

The community said it is looking forward to those recovery efforts, including Early.

"We're moving forward. We go to work every day…It's very nice to know that we have a voice. We've got some advocates up in Salem that are trying to do something to help us which is wonderful," Early said.

Although the fire is no longer threatening, Governor Kate Brown and local business owners says it's going to take some hard work and time to recover from its destruction.

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