Following are my comments addressed to Gov. Kitzhaber and Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley in Glendale on Aug. 3.
Welcome to Douglas County and my sincere thanks for being here in Glendale today.
You see a city transformed by the resources that have been brought to bear on two of the biggest wildfires, among many, that are burning in southwest Oregon.
Douglas County government is hard at work here — our sheriff, and his deputies, have notified and worked with residents who were evacuated east of Glendale, and protected their property while they were gone.
Our emergency communications system has helped coordinate many parts of this effort. Our Public Works Department is assisting, and we have county corrections work crews building fire lines on Douglas Complex fires. Our Health Department is dealing with air quality issues in Glendale.
But, we wouldn’t be here today (literally!), without your help. I want to thank each of you for the expertise, energy, bravery, and resourcefulness that came with the people and equipment that you have poured into this region.
What you will see today is an experienced and professional firefighting force, cooperating across jurisdictions, and across public and private ownerships and resources. From the unified command, to the firefighters on the ground and in the air, to the tireless crews that support them — this is a highly skilled, courageous and tremendously hard-working force. We have the best of the best here in Glendale. I do believe that this is the way our citizens want their government to work.
I want to also salute the citizens of Glendale and this region. You need to be made of pretty stern stuff to see a wall of flame coming at your home and family, and keep your head up.
There are many, many stories of neighbors helping each other get animals and belongings out of the fire’s path; of families, businesses, schools and churches opening their doors to help in any way, and of the tremendous courage of the volunteers of the Glendale Fire Department.
We will soon again take up the political issues around recovering our land from this inferno, management of our federal lands, and their impact on our local and state economy, but that will be a discussion for another day.
For today, please take away a clear understanding of the positive difference you have made here. You have our heartfelt thanks for helping us, and for sending us the best of the best.
Susan Morgan is a Douglas County commissioner. She welcomes your questions or comments. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at Douglas County Courthouse, Room 217, 1036 S.E. Douglas Ave., Roseburg, OR 97470; or by phone at 541-440-4201.