We are so appreciative of the many offers to help animals impacted by the fires and evacuations in the Columbia Gorge. The desire to help with this local disaster is clearly very strong.
First and foremost, we want to assure you that there is a professional response in place and being managed by MCAS (Multnomah County Animal Services) and the Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization Animal Multi-Agency Coordination Group (RDPO Animal MAC-G). The Animal MAC-G is comprised of multiple animal welfare agencies including Multnomah County, Washington County, Clackamas County, Clark County, Oregon Humane Society, Humane Society for Southwest Washington, Sound Equine Options, and others. This coalition has specialized equipment and have worked together through training exercises (and smaller incidents) for many years.
If the situation gets larger and there are more animals in need, we do have systems in place to request more help. Right now, our agencies are working well together to respond to the current needs.
Please do not self-deploy and do not bring supplies or equipment to the fire response area without being specifically asked to do so! We are keeping a list of all of the offers of assistance and will contact you as necessary.
Just to give you some idea of the scope of your collective generosity:
The response has been overwhelming. We received more than 500 messages, 600 phone calls and 1000 texts, and they're still coming in. It'll take days just to respond to them all, so your patience and understanding is very much appreciated. At this time we are confident that we have enough resources available to address both the current and anticipated needs.
As stated above, several local nonprofit animal welfare agencies and Sound Equine Options (SEO), a certified rescue organization, have been working in tandem with MCAS. SEO has coordinated the bulk of the large animal evacuation effort, fielding calls for help and recruiting haulers and locating places to take the animals where they will be safe receive proper food and care. The first estimate of the scope of animal operations thus far is in; at least 75 people with trailers hauling more than 400 animals to safety in less than 24 hours.
The reason we are so well situated in the Portland Metro area is that our communities, individuals, and businesses have supported the shelters and organizations in this area for so long. This has allowed us to build up the resources of equipment, training, and connections that we need to respond appropriately to help keep animals safe now that our own community and such a beautiful and historical part of Oregon and Washington is in danger. Your concern for each other and generosity are so important and greatly appreciated!