Thursday, June 20, 2024

Long Term Recovery Group dedicates final three homes

A journey of 49 rebuilds


PATEROS – The Okanogan County Long Term Recovery Group (OCLTRG) celebrated what Executive Director Carlene Anders called “a bittersweet moment” when the group dedicated the last of 49 homes built for fire victims during ceremonies held Sept. 1.

OCLTRG was founded in the wake of the 2014 Carlton Complex wildfire – at that time the state’s largest – as a grassroots group who knew what friends and neighbors who lost everything needed, in what order, and where to apply that help. Nine years down the road OCLTRG and its track record of results has become a template for other disaster response efforts around the nation.

The homes on the day’s dedication tour included the Jerry Gran home in Oroville, the Jorge Felix home in Okanogan, and the Clint Ames home on the Colville Reservation.

A morning meet-and-greet at the Pateros-Brewster Community Resource Center included an update from Anders about wildfire disasters that were then unfolding further east at the Gray and Oregon Road fires near Spokane and another at Medical Lake. OCLTRG volunteers and were already responding to calls for assistance in those areas.

The Ames home, 37 miles northeast of Brewster, was a 2020 casualty of the Cold Springs wildfire and presented a special challenge for an OCLTRG rebuild. It is located far enough off the electrical grid of the Nespelem Valley Electric Cooperative that running power to the site from existing infrastructure was prohibitively expensive. Solar, wind, and back-up generator power was default choice to provide the requisite energy.

Volunteers, friends, and supporters gathered in the living room of the Ames home and shared stories with Ames about the rebuild journey from the fire victim registration beginnings at the Okanogan County Fairgrounds that served as the 2020 disaster center to the concluding dedication three years later. It is one of nearly 50 such odysseys OCLTRG has witnessed and facilitated over a decade.



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