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Oregon City Police identify woman who died in homeless camp fire

MGN Online{ }

OREGON CITY, Ore. – The Oregon City Police Department identified the woman who died in a fire at a homeless camp on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Police say they identified the woman as 45-year-old Rachael Renee Edwards. Her family has been notified.

Oregon City Police discovered the fire just after 2 a.m. on Nov. 8 near the Abernethy Bridge, Washington Street and 16th Street. An officer was patrolling the area when he spotted the flames.

When the officer found the fire, it had already engulfed the camp and nearby trees.

Clackamas Fire responded and extinguished the flames.

Once the fire was out, investigators found Edwards deceased inside a shelter.

After her death, Clackamas County officials approved an emergency declaration to make sure homeless people have a warm place to stay through the winter months.

Clackamas County’s Health & Human Services Director Richard Swift said they need warming shelters for about 1,000 people.

The state of emergency allows the county to do the following while addressing shelter needs:

  • Commit to mutual aid agreements
  • Suspend standard competitive bidding procedures to obtain necessary goods, services and/or equipment
  • Redirect funds for emergency use
  • Order such other measures as are found to be immediately necessary for the protection of life and/or property
  • Authorize county staff to explore the acquisition of sites suitable for installation of temporary housing units for the homeless population, and to prepare or equip such sites
  • Waive county code regulations, rules and fees to the extent necessary and possible to respond to the housing emergency

Swift said they might look to open warming shelters at the county fairgrounds, in empty buildings, and by offering motel vouchers.

According to county officials, the declaration won’t change their proposed timetable for the Veterans Village transitional housing project, which would give 30 homeless vets a place to get back on their feet.

Anyone interested in volunteering their time to help with the shelter need can get more information on the county’s website.

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