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City declared state of emergency late in the afternoon Friday, September 11.

PMG PHOTO: HOLLY BARTHOLOMEW - Willamette Falls is barely visible from the Arch Bridge because of thick smoke in the area.Heavy smoke blanketed West Linn for a fourth straight day Friday, Sept. 11, and the city declared a state of emergency late in the afternoon.

With wildfires continuing to devastate Clackamas County, Oregon and the entire West coast, many in West Linn wait for the possibility of an evacuation order. For now, the city will operate under a state of emergency declared by interim City Manager John Williams.

The state of emergency is effective immediately and runs through Oct. 5.

West Linn remains at Level 1 evacuation status, meaning residents should be ready for potential evacuation. Level 2 means residents should be set to evacuate at a moment's notice, and Level 3 means "Go now."PMG PHOTO: HOLLY BARTHOLOMEW - Typically, on Friday afternoons, tables outside the bars and restaurants of Willamette Falls Drive are busy with diners.  This Friday, they remained empty.

"In order to protect the safety of our community the City of West Linn asks you to ... curtail any unnecessary use of water to ensure adequate supply for firefighting activities ... Suspend any outdoor activities that could potentially spark or flame, including but not limited to backyard fires, barbeques, candles, and gas or electric yard/construction equipment that creates sparks ... (and) not visit any City parks, natural areas and/or trails during this time of extreme fire danger and hazardous air quality," the city said in a press release. "Many of these restrictions are anticipated be lifted prior to the October 5th deadline dependent on weather and wildfire conditions."

As Oregon City moved to Level 2 evacuation status yesterday, West Linn residents prepared themselves for the worst. Residents flocked to both gas stations in town Thursday evening, creating long lines of anxious preppers aiming to fill up before the 10 p.m. county-wide curfew.

Friday it seemed, residents had already gotten what they needed.

An employee at Safeway said the store had been "slammed" with customers the past couple of days.

While some await the possibility of the official evacuation order, others were unable to sit tight.

Some West Linn families decided to get out of town, fleeing the "very unhealthy air quality."

Others sprang into action, helping move supplies, donations and animals for people forced out of their homes in nearby communities.PMG PHOTO: HOLLY BARTHOLOMEW - The sun hangs like an orb in a smokey sky above the Willamette and Tualatin Rivers at Willamette Park. PMG PHOTO: HOLLY BARTHOLOMEW - A bird swims in the ash-filled Tualatin River.


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