Graham Pearson was helping offload bails of donated hay by the flatbed. Jake Springstead was waiting by his blue Dodge pickup, horse trailer in tow, to race back into harm’s way to help rescue horses east of Sutherlin.

Meanwhile, Kim Philpott was calling a friend requesting they bring stable pens so that room for more horses could made in the Douglas County Fairgrounds outdoor show arena.

From all directions, people were pitching in as the Fairgrounds Complex opened Wednesday as an emergency evacuation center.

After spending one night in the Costco parking lot, Janis Golia and her family took up residence in the fairgrounds RV park. To make the most of the time, the Glide grandmother decided to take her three granddaughters to the livestock barns to admire the horses.

Golia, who lives on Lone Rock Road, said she and her neighbors were ordered to evacuate around 4 p.m. Tuesday. Her nextdoor neighbors — Jerry and Linda Pattison — have lived on Lone Rock for nearly 40 years, and are no strangers to fire danger.

“We saw them getting ready to go, so we said, ‘if they’re loading up, it’s time to go.”

Golia’s granddaughters Sage 5, Serenity 7, and Christina 14, moved from Chico, California, to take advantage in-school learning in the Glide School District and to enjoy the fresh air.

“Those plans got kinda screwed up,” Janis Golia joked.

The barns were a busy place Wednesday. Hay was being delivered from all over the area, including donations from the K Bar Ranch, Douglas County Farmers Co-op and Nancy and Lester Ocumpaugh. Coast Farm and Ranch also chipped in a donation of wheelbarrows.

But the fairgrounds were more than just a pop-up petting zoo.

Jolee Kawamura was spending her day looking for assistance for herself and several of her neighbors. Kawamura, manager of the Susan Creek Mobile Home Park for the past eight years, received confirmation from the park’s owner that the park was a total loss.

“We were just trying to find resources, what could we do, who can help us,” Kawamura said. “Some of don’t have any clothes except what we left with. I lost my husband Kirk on Jan. 1, and couldn’t even get his ashes.”

The fairgrounds complex was made available as an evacuation station by local officials late Tuesday. By late Wednesday, RVs were still rolling into the park, which was nearing capacity.

So were the animal stables. As another flatbed of hay was rolling out, Springstead was headed the other direction, racing to get more animals out of harm’s way.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Donovan Brink is the cops and courts reporter for The News-Review.

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