DHS News

Wildfire Response and Resources

 

Director's Message
Message from ​Director Fariborz Pakseresht and Deputy Director Liesl Wendt
 
September 9, 2020
 

We have heard heartbreaking reports of staff, clients and Oregonians losing their homes and, in some cases, their communities due to recent wildfires. We believe we can all rise to the occasion to offer compassion and support to one another. When circumstances are at their worst, ODHS staff perform their best. When devastating wildfires appeared throughout the state this week, our stepped up to help Oregonians, even as many face threats themselves. Thank you for your dedication. You're doing incredible work.

The wildfires, layered on top of the public health and societal challenges we're facing, create a heavy burden to bear. People work at ODHS because they have a passion for helping others. During weeks like this one, it is especially important that we take care of ourselves and each other so we can continue to be there as Oregonians recover and rebuild their health, their homes and their communities.

We want to provide you an update on our response and resources you may need in the days ahead.


Wildfire response

Every part of our Department is taking steps to protect, and support Oregonians threatened by the wildfires:

  • Aging and People with Disabilities evacuated people from nearly three dozen residential facilities so far and is contacting in-home consumers for safety checks.
  • Child Welfare is checking in on children in foster care, tracking evacuations and mobilizing to meet foster provider needs. 
  • The Stabilization and Crisis Units in the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services have relocation plans in place and are ready to move residents, if needed.
  • Self-Sufficiency Programs are researching options for benefits for natural disaster victims.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation staff are reaching out to clients, helping them access resources.
  • Central and Shared Services are contacting Coordinated Care Organizations to identify resources for ODHS clients impacted by wildfires.

 

Staff resources

We also are looking for ways to support our staff who are experiencing evacuations and the loss of homes and property. We wanted to make sure staff know there are resources to help:

  • Human Resources has designated points of contact for staff effected by the wildfires who have leave-related questions:


For SEIU-represented staff

Amy Klare: Amy.K.Klare@dhsoha.state.or.us  or (503) 989-6827

For AFSCME-represented staff

Deni Tebeau: Deni.TEBEAU@dhsoha.state.or.us  or (503) 990-1865
Trina Salazar:  TRINA.SALAZAR@dhsoha.state.or.us  or (503) 551-8208

  • Contact 211Info to be connected with resources in your community.
  • We're creating an internal resource network where staff can volunteer to meet requests from colleagues experiencing losses from the wildfires. We'll get instructions out on how to participate as this resource takes shape.

 

Informational resources

Keeping pace with the rapidly changing wildfire situation can be difficult. Knowing where to get the latest status report and resources is important. Here are some suggestions:

We are activating our Agency Operations Center to help us monitor and respond to the wildfires. We will provide more information as it becomes available. We welcome you to respond to this message to share the type of information you would find most helpful.

We also encourage you to use the resources and supports available to keep you safe and healthy. We are proud to work alongside you and know we will get through this as we do every other challenge – together.