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Cascade Locks community meeting focuses on Eagle Creek Fire recovery

Photos of landmarks in the Columbia River Gorge after the Eagle Creek Fire burned through the region. (Photo taken by Chris Liedle 10-4-2017)

Now months after the Eagle Creek Fire swept through the Columbia River Gorge late this summer, the focus is starting to shift toward recovery efforts.

On Tuesday, the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Committee hosted a community meeting to discuss how that recovery process would play out.

The massive wildfire burned more than 48,800 acres, destroying homes, popular hiking trails, and several iconic Gorge landmarks.

"We're looking at a phase recovery," said Lynn Burditt with the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire scorched the steep cliffs around Multnomah Falls and came very close to the historic lodge. Burditt said the Forest Service plans to spend close to half a million dollars to make the area around the falls safe.

Access to the area, she said, would come in stages. Crews are working to secure an area near the lodge so people can safely see the waterfall. The viewing platform and trail will remain closed, she said.

"Right now, you won't be in a position where you can actually go to that first viewing platform or actually walk the trail where you can look in," she said.

Next, the U.S. Forest Service will focus on the Pacific Crest Trail and Herman Creek Trailhead.

Areas burned badly in the fire - like Eagle Creek - could take years to restore.

Caroline Park, the co-owner of Thunder Island Brewing Company in Cascade Locks, said Gorge businesses like hers took a hit when Interstate 84 was closed in September and October.

"How we move forward is something that we're always thinking about every single day," Park said.

There will be more forums in the future to discuss the Eagle Creek Fire and how the community can help Columbia River Gorge forests recover. If you're interested in attending, visit gorgefriends.org/FireForums.

Portland Forum

Wednesday, Nov. 15, program 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Doors open at 6 p.m.; visit information tables from sponsor organizations

Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark, Portland 97214 (map)


Troutdale Forum

Wednesday, Nov. 29, program 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m.; visit information tables from sponsor organizations

McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey St, Troutdale, OR 97060 (map)


Hood River Forum

Thursday, Nov. 30, program 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Doors open at 6:15 p.m. - visit information tables from sponsor organizations

Hood River Valley High School, 1220 Indian Creek Road, Hood River, OR 97031 (map)



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