Last night as the Eagle Creek fire continued to scorch its way through the Columbia River Gorge, Ralph Jacobson went through his daughter's home in west Corbett to gather all of her pictures to try and save the memories.
Tuesday morning, Sept 5, as more people were forced from their homes, Jacobson visited the American Red Cross Shelter at Mt. Hood Community College's Yoshida Event Center to donate $100 to their efforts.
"Physically I can't do a lot for people, but I wanted to try and make a difference," he said. "(The Red Cross) is often the first to help, they seem to come out of the woodwork when you need them. I wanted to help them."
The Red Cross Shelter was opened Monday night, with most people arriving at 1:30 a.m. The shelter, run by volunteers working in shifts, is providing food, showers, water and a place to rest. Multnomah County mental health staff were also on hand to lend aid to those in need.
"This is a safe place for people to go," said Monique Dugaw, regional director of communication for Red Cross. "Our folks are really dedicated to helping people."
At breakfast the Mt. Hood Community College shelter had 50 people, while the other Red Cross shelter in Stevenson, Washington, was supporting 120 individuals.
Throughout the day neighbors and concerned businesses and community members visited to provide donations and see if there was anything they could do to help. Volunteers welcomed displaced residents to the shelter, while in the gymnasium student athletes helped prepare the dormitory.
The best way to support the Red Cross' efforts is by making a monetary donation at the shelter or online at www.redcross.org. While supplies are appreciated, it is easier to donate money because those running the shelter know what is most needed.
"We want to make sure people are getting what they need," said Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann, who was visiting the shelter located not far from her home. "People are scared, but grateful. The Red Cross is doing a great job."
Jacobson is looking on the bright side of everything. A retired teacher who lives in California, he was visiting Oregon to celebrate his granddaughter graduating from high school.
"The best thing kids can see right now is how people come together when things go wrong," he said.