Gov. Brown meets with Columbia River Gorge business owners

Gorge businesses tell Gov. Brown impact of fire

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. -- Gov. Kate Brown took leaders of 15 state agencies to Cascade Locks Friday to listen to business owners and citizens who were economically impacted by the Eagle Creek Fire.

She heard a similar story nearly everywhere she went.

The closing of eastbound Interstate 84 for nearly three weeks, and the smoke that came with the fire, kept customers away and hammered bottom lines.

Gov. Brown said her new Council on Economic Recovery will help.

“Do a better assessment about what we can do as a state to step in and make sure this community has what it needs to thrive,” she said.

Jill Buck runs Multnomah Falls Lodge with her father. She told the governor the lodge is still closed and 70 employees laid off.

“Now our amazing and loyal employees do not  have a paycheck and we have no clear answers to give them as to when they will have a job back. We have no opening date for them,” Buck said.

Aaron Lee from Sedition Brewing in The Dalles said he's been open just over a year.

“Survived the winter --took a double hit with the fire. We've exhausted all of our reserves. I'm actually writing the last check today,” he said.

Lee vowed to survive the coming winter.

Caroline Park, a co-owner of Thunder Island Brewing, said the company lost $150,000 dollars in revenue.

“We had to close our doors for two weeks during what should have been our busiest time of the year,” she told Gov. Brown.

Nearly a month after it began most of the crisis that came with the Eagle Creek Fire is gone. But the pain it left behind in Columbia Gorge businesses is just now being tallied up.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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