Animal sanctuary's 150 residents transported to safety amid fires
When Kit Collins realized the 150 animals at Out to Pasture would need to be quickly evacuated because of the wildfires burning near Estacada, she wasn't sure how it would happen.
But then she posted a request for assistance on the animal sanctuary's Facebook page, and offers to help move the llamas, donkeys, pigs, goats and other creatures that call Out to Pasture home started coming in.
"When we first had to evacuate, we wondered what we would do. We didn't have anyone lined up and were worried it would be impossible. We were feeling so discouraged, and then the phone started ringing off the hook," said Collins, who runs the animal sanctuary at 33190 S.E. Regan Hill Road with her husband, John. "We got so many calls that my voicemail box is full."
Estacada and many surrounding communities are under Level 3 evacuation because of the Riverside and Dowty Road fires, meaning that residents must leave immediately. All areas in Clackamas County are at least Level 1, which means that residents need to be ready for a potential evacuation.
On Tuesday night, Sept. 8, volunteers came from a variety of locations to help move Out to Pasture's animals to safety. Collins estimated that the process lasted until 4 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9.
"People came with trailers. People came from all over to help. Some were total strangers, people we'd never met before," she said.
Several animals were hesitant to leave their home at Out to Pasture. Peekaboo the llama laid down when it was time to move, and Val the miniature donkey had to be carried out.
"Val is really stubborn anyway, but most of the animals have never gone anywhere, especially in the middle of the night," Collins said.
Initially, many of Out to Pasture's "residents" were placed with people who offered their homes and land in Sandy, Oregon City, Canby, West Linn and Portland. As many areas in Clackamas County faced higher levels of evacuation, some animals needed to be moved a second time to locations in Portland and Vancouver, Washington.
Collins is grateful for everyone who's helped the animals but noted that the evacuation has been a stressful experience. A difficult moment came when she was driving back from transporting goats from West Linn and learned that pigs who had been temporarily homed in Sandy needed to be moved onced the city reached Level 2 evacuation.
"We were low on gas, stuck in a traffic jam and gas stations were closed," she recalled. Eventually, they were able to make it back to Estacada to transport more animals.
Collins hopes that Out to Pasture is not lost to the fires, but she said they will continue sheltering animals either way.
"If it burns, it will be hard to start over, but we'll do what we have to," she added.
A GoFundMe for Out to Pasture, which will help cover the cost of food and other necessities for the animals during this time, is available here.
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