Record rainfall, landslides, sinkholes, snow storms, a tornado and extensive power outages wreaked havoc and forced families from their homes in communities across Oregon and Southwest Washington during December 2015. These local disasters were part of a month-long national-level disaster operation through the New Year. Red Cross volunteers from across the Pacific Northwest, and throughout the country, helped affected communities begin their recovery.
The Largest Response in Nearly a Decade
The severe weather, which was reported through advisories, alerts and warnings, caused a mudslide that closed down Interstate 5 in Southwest Washington, left thousands of Oregonians without power in southern and central Oregon, and created landslide concerns that forced the mandatory evacuation of multiple apartment buildings near Portland. These activities, coupled with freezing rain and flooding, led to the opening of 11 shelters over two weeks.
The Red Cross was there, providing a safe place to stay, warm meals, comfort and hope. And, as family began their recovery, the Red Cross was there again, with clean-up kits, relief items and financial assistance to help those affected get back on their feet.
“It was truly a story of neighbors helping neighbors,” says Amy Shlossman, chief executive director of the American Red Cross Cascades Region. “Many disaster volunteers served in their local communities, and other Red Crossers traveled from across the country to offer assistance throughout the holidays.”
Meanwhile, says Shlossman, the day-to-day work of the Red Cross continued. During the nearly 27-day winter-storm response, Red Cross disaster action team volunteers responded to 55 local home fires.
Cascade Region Winter Storms – Red Cross Response by the Numbers
Throughout the storm, 21 Oregon and Southwest Washington counties were affected. OREGON - Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Hood River, Josephine, Jackson, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Tillamook, Yamhill
WASHINGTON - Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Pacific, Skamania, Wahkiakum
11 Shelters opened
300+ Overnight stays
12,000+ Meals/snacks served
1,300+ Clean-up kits and relief items distributed
224 Red Cross volunteers
Delivery of the Red Cross mission is made possible by the generous and committed companies who support Red Cross disaster response through donations, employee matching programs and microsites. Our sincere thanks to: Circle K, Fred Meyer, Tektronix, NW Natural, Kaiser Permanente, Portland General Electric, the Ford Family Foundation and Qorvo.
In addition, we offer great appreciation to our community partners for working side-by-side to support community members in need, including:
- Church of the Brethren Children’s Disaster Services
- City of Oregon City
- Clackamas County Dept. of Human Services
- Clackamas County Emergency Management
- Emergency Management partners in Clackamas, Clark, Columbia, Coos, Cowlitz, Deschutes, Douglas, Hood River, Josephine, Jackson, Klickitat, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Pacific, Skamania, Tillamook, Yamhill Wahkiakum, and Washington Counties
- Oregon City High School
- Oregon Office of Emergency Management
- Oregon Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster
Donations to Red Cross disaster response ensure that we are there, whenever, wherever disasters strike. Gifts may be made online or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.