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C. Oregonians seek to help evacuees; Red Cross deals with COVID-19 health risks

Update: Adding Red Cross referral to St. Vincent de Paul)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ ) -- With many Central Oregonians looking for ways to help by donating items to wildfire evacuees arriving in Deschutes County, the American Red Cross said it also must address health risks due to COVID-19.

Nearly 80 people were placed in rooms at the Super 8 motel in Redmond Tuesday night, after receiving assistance from the Red Cross fire evacuation site at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.

More evacuees continued to arrive Wednesday, many with little to no belongings, prompting others to start taking in donations on their behalf.

Northeast Bend residents Anita Tracy and Pete Peters created a post on Nextdoor, a social networking website for neighborhoods, asking neighbors and others interested to deliver supplies to her front yard.

"They need everything," Tracy said. "Those folks have left their homes, only with what they are wearing. There's no home or even town to go back to."

Tracy and Peters filled two vans with donations of clothes, toiletries, food items, luggage, bedding and much more, and delivered them Wednesday afternoon.

Tracy told NewsChannel 21 that everyone who brought donations kept a safe distance and wore masks, but she acknowledged she doesn't know if the donations are coming from households were exposed to COVID-19 issues.

Instead, the Red Cross in Redmond has been directing item donations to St. Vincent de Paul in Redmond, where a distribution center, including a food bank, has been set up for fire victims and evacuees. Tracy was told the Super 8 needed snack food and water for the evacuees.

Nadine McCrindle, executive director of the American Cross for Central and Eastern Oregon, said in any other year, the Red Cross would accept household donations for evacuees, but COVID- 19 has posed a new challenge.

"With coronavirus, we are unable to accept those material donations," McCrindle said. "Just due to the risk of the virus spreading throughout those items, it's a risk too high that we are able to bear right now."

McCrindle said also they don't have enough space to store items that people are bringing in.

As a result of being unable to place people in congregate shelters, as they traditionally do for evacuees, the Red Cross is seeking financial donations to help place people in hotels, as well as assisting with their individual needs.

McCrindle said for those wanting to donate items, they ask that you stop by the shelter at the fairgrounds first and speak with someone, since the needs of the evacuees continue to change. They ask that people not bring donations without first communicating with staff.

On Wednesday morning, for example, the Red Cross was working on ways to provide people with phone chargers.

Financial donations for the Red Cross can be made at, or you can text the word "red cross" to 90999, which will process a $10 donation on your behalf.

Bend / Central Oregon / Coronavirus / Deschutes County / Fire / Fire Alert / Redmond / Top Stories
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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.



  1. Oh for Christ’s sake. People are coming here that have lost or may have lost EVERYTHING and the main concern is COVID??????? It would appear to me that giving these people what they need rather than worrying about a virus with a low death rate is more important than anything. The last thing these poor people are thinking about is “OMG! Am I going to get COVID?” its more like “OMG! Do I have a home to go home to?” or “OMG! I lost everything. What do I do now? Where do I go?”

        1. Correct. There are roughly 330 million people in the USA. If 200,000 die, that is a considered a low death rate. I think things like cancer, car wrecks and stuff like that have a higher death rate.

        1. I would be more concerned about the boxes and labels coming out of those Amazon/Walmart trucks !

          We are all aware of the covid outbreaks at the Amazon centers in Troutdale. Cardboard boxes can remain infected up to a day- the plastic labels 2-3 days !

          Those of us on the front line of prevention are amazed that proper sanitizing or disinfecting programs are not being mandated by the state for all shipments- from frozen foods to dry goods statewide.

          This goes for any Red Cross donated good- they can all be properly disinfected upon arrival.

          Once again we see where Kate Brown’s hysterics can over-ride scientific facts !

          Schools in Prineville are opening- children are going back to school- so what do they know out in Crook County that the rest of the State doesn’t- cause I assure you- they are taking scientifically based information- and not blind emotional panic- too move forward.

      1. The virus that causes covid has been shown to have a life span of up to four days… on copper !

        Best put your piggy bank away for awhile…. or… “shut up” !

          1. Ha-Ha… the only thing I’m hurting is your little feelings- your pride- and your overall levels of arrogance.

            The data I used on the lifespan of the covid corona virus possibly coming out of Amazon and Walmart distribution centers is spot on- confirmed- verified !

            Do your own homework for a change- learn something- show more respect for those of us who simply know more than you and Bug Eyes do !

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