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.