The first load of horses and humans arrived from Estacada to the Hood River Saddle Club grounds Tuesday night, Sept. 8.

On that day, all of Clackamas County was under some kind of evacuation notice due to the Riverside Fire; Estacada was officially elevated to Level 3 — “Go Now” — orders Sept. 9.

Helen Hansen, Saddle Club manager, said she received her first phone call that day from a man with five horses who had seen the club’s information on social media. Within hours, he arrived with his family and horses.

The club is now housing three families and their animals. Two of the families have campers and are staying on the grounds, while a third, who arrived with only a pickup and horse trailer, is staying with Hansen.

In all, the club is now hosting more than 10 horses, as well as chickens, a goat, cats and dogs.

“We’re just trying to help people out,” said Hansen.

She said word got out that the saddle club had space via social media and veterinary clinics. To make more pens, Hansen has broken down her own fencing. She has had numerous calls from community members wanting to donate items such as hay, but as of now, help is not needed.

Evacuation sites

Hood River County saw other sites, both public and private, offer their grounds for evacuees and animals. They are as follows:

  • Hood River County Fairgrounds; contact Fairgrounds Manager Clara Rice at 541-354-2865 or www.hoodriverfairgrounds.com. For evacuees with trailers, motorhomes and tents with livestock and animal spaces.
  • Port of Hood River; visit portofhoodriver.com/hood-river-waterfront-evacuation-sites for information. Motorhomes and trailers; porta potties and handwashing stations onsite, but no wraparound services.
  • Cascade Locks Marine Park (RV campground); call 541-374-8619. No wraparound services. Tent and trailer camping.
  • Hood River Valley Christian Church; contact Alicia at 541-601-19492. Large parking lot.
  • Hood River Valley Adult Center / Meals on Wheels; contact Executive Director Amy Mallett at 541-386-2060 or hrvacamy@gorge.net. Parking lot open to any evacuee who needs to park an RV or other vehicle. 
  • Cascade Pet Camp; call 541-354-2267. Will take small pets (dogs and cats). No wraparound services.
  • Hood River Valley High School; call 541)-386-4500  or check Facebook for updates at www.facebook.com/HoodRiverValleyHS. Large south parking lot for trailers and adjacent grass field for tent campers. No wraparound services.
  • Hood River Alliance Church; call 541-386-2812.
  • Hood River Saddle Club; call 541-386-5913. Can take some horses.

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