National Guard called in
Marion County announced that due to recent winter storms, the Oregon Army National Guard will be deployed to assist local authorities dedicated to helping residents who have been severely affected.
Marion County's Emergency Operations Center also has been working with local communities as thousands of residents have been severely impacted by storm damage and power outages. During the Feb. 17 Board of Commission meeting Commissioner Kevin Cameron lauded the teamwork approach he observed cities taking in overcoming storm-related setbacks.
Earlier in the week Cameron spent time checking the damages in north Marion County, describing downed power lines and debris on country roads.
"As we drove around we had to take several different routes to even get from Donald to St. Paul, because it was like the movie 'Twister,' or something like that," Cameron said. "You literally saw the top of the telephone pole with a transformer on it just ripped, and wires across these farm roads. It was really amazing."
County sources said that the guard's support will complement the efforts of the Marion County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Teams in conducting welfare checks on vulnerable residents around the county.
And the assistance with be welcome.
"Bottom line is this is the third emergency we've had in the last 12 months," Cameron said, citing COVID-19, wildfires and ensuing displacements along with severe winter storms.
"This storm has brought a tremendous new set of challenges to our community, which has already faced significant difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the wildfires in September," Cameron said. "By accepting the aid of the Oregon National Guard, we ensure we're doing all we can to provide for residents in their time of need."
Details of the deployment are still in the planning stages, but county officials anticipate Guard members to be available to assist as early as Monday, Feb. 22.
"We look forward to having the women and men from the National Guard coming to assist our search and rescue teams with getting resources out into the community," Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast said. "We'll be working with emergency management to get them supplied with water, blankets and other supplies our community members may need."
The National Guard service members will be wearing bright reflective vests to assist with being more visible to those in need of help.
Additionally, Marion County has established a call center for community members to request support, welfare checks, and information related to debris cleanup at 503-588-5108. The information also is available online at: HYPERLINK "http://www.co.marion.or.us/alerts"www.co.marion.or.us/alerts.
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