MERLIN, Ore. — Although the Galice Resort opened up right at 7 a.m. on Friday, it was far from business as usual. By 10 a.m., Debbie Thomason says that her resort had seen two guests. On a normal day, that number would have been closer to 100.
The Galice Resort closed for a total of eight days after flames from the Taylor Creek Fire rushed north—approaching the Rogue River and threatening the far-flung homes and businesses along Galice Road. As firefighters hurried to protect those structures, authorities shut down the road to through-traffic. Thomason was forced to close her doors.
"I've been here 38 years and this is the first time ever we had to completely shut down our business in the middle of our season," Thomason said.
Above and beyond the complete loss of business from those eight days, Thomason said that the Resort had to lay off 70 employees, the majority of their staff, leaving them with a skeleton crew of 14.
"Some employees had to guarantee employment so they went elsewhere," Thomason said.
In 2013, the fire season was so severe that the Galice Resort never fully recovered. 2018 is shaping up to be much worse.
"One day of revenue is like a week worth of business for someone that does a year round business. So this is our time to make it or break it," Thomason said.
It isn't all bad news, though. With fire crews making leaps and bounds in the Taylor Creek Fire's containment, Galice Road is back open for motorists to travel safely. And, Thomason says, the smoke down there in the Rogue River's canyon is nowhere near as bad as it is in Grants Pass or Medford.
Friday night will see live music from Jim Lesher and the Western Express from 6-10 p.m. Thomason hopes that people will come out, enjoy the music, and have some dinner right there on the Rogue.