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Group gathering donations for Warm Springs Reservation, which is largely without access to clean running water

COURTESY OF KRISTINA PAINE - Volunteers gathered donations to deliver to Warm Springs Reservation.Columbia County residents are pitching in to help residents of the Warm Springs Reservation in north-central Oregon.

The reservation has been largely without access to clean drinking water in recent weeks. The lack of clean water — or in some cases, any running water at all — and the hygiene challenges that presents add to the threat of COVID-19 There had been 133 cases of COVID-19 on the reservation as of July 21, KWSO reported, among roughly 4,700 residents. In comparison, Columbia County has had just 63 cases among more than 52,000 residents.

A group in Clackamas County drove seven cars and trucks full of donations to the reservation earlier this month. Mariah Hilson, who runs a farm in Clackamas County, said she had read an article about the lack of clean water on the reservation. At work the next day, the article was "heavy on (her) heart," she told coworkers. They planned to chip in a few hundred bucks to purchase goods to donate, but found those in their community were eager to help.COURTESY OF KRISTINA PAINE - A small group of people collected seven cars full of donations for Warm Springs reservation earlier this month, and now they're going to do it again.

Now, Columbia County is joining in.

Kristina Paine was part of the initial group gathering donations and recently posted about the effort on Columbia County community social media groups.

"I have had so many people from that page reach out about being willing to do donation drop-off stations, donating items and even joining us in our convoy to deliver supplies. It's almost overwhelming the amount of support from that group's members," Paine said.

Hilson said she has been in contact with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs' Emergency Management Director Danny Martinez to find out the most-needed items.

"Water and food will always be on the list," Hilson said.

Canned food, clean towels, personal hygiene products like baby shampoo, toothpaste and hand soap, and cleaning supplies are needed.

Woodland Cottage Handpicked Boutique at 241 So. First St. in St. Helens will be accepting donations from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 22. Moving Forward Columbia County, a new progressive political action committee, is organizing the drop-off and plans to find more locations in the coming days.

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