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Wildfire evacuees anxious after learning shelter is closing

The temporary shelter on the grounds of the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Gladstone is closing in a week.

GLADSTONE, Ore. — For the last two weeks, the campground at the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Gladstone has been a temporary shelter for wildfire evacuees.

"I'd say on a scale of one to 10 it's an 11," said Carol Humphreys.

The campground is the second place Humphreys has sought refuge since leaving her home in a Level 3 evacuation zone.

"People have been wonderful," she said. "They've fed us. It's been lovely. Everyone has been nice ... we feel safe here."

Jonathan Russell of the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists said they decided to open their property to evacuees within hours of the wildfires kicking up.

"When people came inm we were anxious to provide a safe place," Russell said. "We've had 24-hour security, hot showers open."

Russell said it has taken an incredible amount of resources to do this. They simply cannot do it anymore.

"It's a real strain on us to continue this indefinitely so we've worked with the county to find a transition plan," he said. 

At a meeting late Wednesday afternoon, evacuees were told the shelter will be winding down and closing at noon Sept. 30. Clackamas County will work with evacuees to find a new shelter site. Many are anxious.

Credit: Mike Benner, KGW staff
Evacuees learn their temporary shelter is closing.

"I'd rather stay here," Humphreys said. "We're all comfortable here. They've been wonderful."

Humphreys is hoping to find the same sort of hospitality at the next shelter before eventually returning home.

"Home is going to look a lot different than when we left," she said. "But I still want to go back there."