Brookings, Ore.- Governor Kate Brown spent today in Brookings talking with local business owners about the impact of the Chetco Bar Fire, Oregon’s ninth largest fire in over 100 years.
Now that the devastation has stopped, Governor Brown says she’s adamant that a thorough recovery process must begin.
After the Chetco Bar Fire burned nearly 191,088 acres near Brookings fire, smoke, and road closures impacted thousands living, working, and vacationing in Southern Oregon.
“We’re not talking about people that are looking for welfare. We’re talking about people that have lost their ability to work,” one local business owner says.
During the thick smoke and peak flames of the Chetco Bar Fire small business owners, residents of Southern Oregon, and visitors who had made plans to vacation in the area were heavily impacted.
Josephine County Commissioner Lily Morgan explains the impact on her county, “Our tourism activities and a lot of businesses were shut down a month early. And now as these fires are happening more increasingly, we’re hearing from a lot of folks who are saying, ‘I’m not going to come back.”
So, in order to figure out how to move forward Governor Kate Brown came to Brookings to hear what local residents have to suggest.
While in Brookings Governor Brown heard from Curry and Josephine County Commissioners.
“I think this county and this city is still in mourning over this fire so I don’t think we can even process it yet,” one Curry County Commissioner said.
At the start of her discussion with locals, Brown revealed that she’s created an Economic Recovery Council to help Brookings, and areas impacted by the Chetco Bar Fire, move forward.
She says their duties will be two fold.
“One- assess the economic damage that’s been done and prioritize the needs. And secondly, identify and deploy state support in a timely, and the best part, coordinated manner.”
The Economic Recovery Council will be lead by Representative Brock Smith and along with the recovery council, the state will be offering low interest loans to small businesses in order to help them recover.
Amidst the difficulty and the beginning of the recovery process after a destructive fire season, Brookings locals are maintaining a positive outlook.
“During the fire this community came together and it was an amazing thing to experience, truly amazing,” one passionate local exclaims.
And Governor Kate Brown shares that sentiment.
“People came together to support one another, that’s truly wonderful. That’s truly the Oregon way.”