The growing Riverside Fire near Estacada displaced the Vince and Phila Rehm family, the first people to arrive at Lot 1 in Hood River Friday afternoon after the Port of Hood River opened up parking areas to people evacuating fire areas.
The family had recently returned to Mt. Hood Village, near Welches in Clackamas County from a trip to New Mexico, “and we were happy to be back home, and then we had to get out of there. The smoke was really thick and we were surrounded by woods there. They cut the power and the routers were out and the cell reception was horrible because of the smoke,” Vince said.
Their 38-foot fifth wheeler is also their home. They left Mt. Hood Village Wednesday and then headed to Portland but the smoke had thickened so they headed to Hood River. ”We’re kind of nomads, the kids are used to travel.”
They stayed at Lot 1 a few hours but noticed the smoke had thickened and decided to head east to Pendleton and perhaps back to New Mexico. “It’s uncertain. We have storage in Sandy with all our photos and statues from my wife’s family in Cambodia,” Vince said. “All of our irreplaceable stuff we put in storage in Sandy and now the fire is close by. We talked about do we go back there or hook up and leave? I think we’ve decided to hook up and leave. We’re lucky we have the trailer and hook up and go, we have propane and water tanks full. We’re okay wherever there’s Wifi, so it hasn’t affected us that much.”
Rehm added that “we’ve lived all over but we love Oregon the most, and wonder what it’s going to look like.”