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Bend Red Cross first responder heads to Oroville, Calif.


Sixteen American Red Cross disaster responders from Oregon and Southwest Washington (the Cascades Region) have deployed to California to help the 188,000 people who have been evacuated from their homes because of a possible breach of the Oroville Dam.

Responders from Portland, Dallas, Medford, Silverton, Bend, Wood Village, Salem and Newberg, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, will staff shelters set up for evacuated residents and deliver food and other supplies in anticipation of the possible dam breach.

Mike Williams, a Red Cross volunteer from Salem, is driving one of three Emergency Response Vehicles deployed from Oregon and Southwest Washington to aid in the Oroville Dam response.

“I saw the news coverage last night and started packing my travel bag,” Williams said. “I knew I needed to help and when I received the call this morning asking if I could go, I was ready. The folks who have been evacuated need us.”

Another is being driven by Jack Crowell of Bend, who told NewsChannel 21 on Monday, “Once we get there, we’ll know exactly what’s going on, that people will perhaps be evacuated… and we’ll have to set up shelters. We’ll be doing mobile feeding or providing material support.”

Nearly 4,000 residents were in Red Cross and community shelters as of Monday morning, and the Red Cross is preparing to shelter and feed thousands more in the upcoming days.

The evacuation orders came on Sunday night in Butte and Yuba counties, Yuba City and Marysville, as damage was discovered to the Oroville Dam, the nation’s highest dam. The dam currently remains intact, but the emergency spillway is eroding.

The governor of California has declared a state of emergency and substantial search and rescue help is being deployed, including the California National Guard and Highway Patrol, along with swift water rescue teams.

There are nearly 100 Red Cross workers on the ground, with more on the way, working with state officials and community organizations to provide comfort and care to shelter residents. There is no word yet on when people will be allowed to return home, but the Red Cross is preparing to help them for as long as needed.

MAKE A DONATION: The priority of the Red Cross is to get those affected settled at emergency shelters, and to provide supplies to meet immediate needs. Right now, the best way to help is through a financial donation. Help people affected by disasters like floods and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS to make a donation.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP: Everyone should download the Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information available on their mobile device, including emergency weather alerts, safety information and open shelter locations. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit, or find us on Twitter at @RedCrossCasc.

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