News

Plenty of Oregon help heading to Harvey-ravaged Texas

And Better Business Bureau offers wise giving tips

Oregon Guard to help in Texas C...

PORTLAND, Ore. - Numerous Oregonians, from Coast Guard and National Guard members to stranded pet rescuers, are heading to or helping out the thousands of flood victims hit by Hurricane, now Tropical Storm Harvey in southeast Texas.

Here's a roundup of what we've heard of so far:

From the American Red Cross in Portland:

The American Red Cross is holding volunteer interest meetings in Portland and Salem on Tuesday and Medford on Wednesday. Individuals interested in volunteering with the Red Cross for local and national disaster relief efforts are encouraged to attend. No RSVP is required and details on the trainings are as follows:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
9:30 a.m. -- 3:30 p.m.
Red Cross Regional Headquarters
3131 N. Vancouver Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
9:30 a.m. -- 3:30 p.m.
Red Cross Salem Office
675 Orchard Heights Rd. NW Suite 200
Salem, OR 97304

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
9:30 a.m. -- 3:30 p.m.
Red Cross Medford Office
60 Hawthorne St.
Medford, OR 97504

People who are unable to attend one of the recruitment meetings can still become Red Cross volunteers by visiting redcross.org/volunteer.

Red Cross Response to the Chetco Bar Wildfire:
* Since August 17, the Red Cross has operated a wildfire evacuation shelter. The shelter remains open at Riley Elementary School, 94350 6th St, Gold Beach, OR 97444.
* To date (Monday morning, August 28, 2017) the Red Cross shelter has provided 192 overnight stays and 2,939 meals and snacks.
* Individuals and families in need of shelter assistance may simply show up at the shelter for help. People facing evacuations and in need of shelter assistance may call (888) 680-1455.
* The following services are available at the shelter to people displaced by the Chetco Bar Wildfire: shelter (sleeping area, cots, blankets); food (hot meals and snacks); water and coffee; a shower facility; informational updates from the Fire Management Team (typically daily resident briefings); other assistance (dependent on individual or community needs); information on pet shelter assistance; information on livestock relocation; and health and mental health services.

Red Cross Response to Hurricane Harvey:
* Preliminary estimates indicate that at least 6,000 people sought refuge in dozens of shelters in Texas Sunday night. We believe this number could be much higher, and will share additional information as it becomes available. Shelters are also open in Louisiana as bands from the storm move to the east.
* More than 80 tractor-trailer loads of cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies are now on the ground in Texas.
* We have shelter supplies for more than 34,000 people, with additional supplies for 18,000 people en route.
* More than half of the Red Cross emergency response fleet -- 200 Emergency Response Vehicles -- have been activated for the operation

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
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 shelter locations. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
MAKE A DONATION The Red Cross has launched a massive response to this devastating storm and needs financial donations to be able to provide immediate disaster relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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 redcross.org/Cascades or find us on Facebook at RedCrossCascades, Twitter at @RedCrossCasc and find us on Instagram at @RedCrossCascades.

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From the Oregon Military Department:

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Members of the Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron have been called to provide humanitarian support for Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas.

Approximately 15 Oregon Air National Guardsmen will depart from Portland Air National Guard Base(PANG) at around 4:20 p.m. on a C-130 Hercules aircraft headed to Robert Gray Army Airfield in Texas. The C-130 will arrive in Portland at around 2:20 p.m.

The contingent consists of two teams and a command element, which is comprised of Combat Controllers and Pararescuemen. The Airfield Operations mission will be to restore airfields that are inaccessible or unusable so that supplies and rescue efforts can be flown to them.

The second mission includes use of Zodiac boats and Humvees from PANG to assist rescue operations. Special Tactics Airman will also assist aviation units already at the scene with helicopter hoisting rescues as needed.

The Oregon Air National Guard has more than 2,300 members serving across the state serving in Portland, also with the 173rd Fighter Wing at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, with the 116th Air Control Squadron in Warrenton and with Joint Force Headquarters in Salem.

About the 142nd Fighter Wing
The Portland Air National Guard Base employs 1,500 Airmen who provide an economic impact of nearly $500 million to the region. The 142nd Fighter Wing defends our homeland with F-15 Eagle fighter jets, guarding the Pacific Northwest skies from northern California to the Canadian border, on 24-hour Aerospace Control Alert as part of Air Combat Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Their mission is to provide unequalled, mission-ready units to sustain combat aerospace superiority and peacetime tasking any time, any place in service to our nation, state and community.

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SEATTLE — Coast Guard personnel from Washington and Oregon units have deployed to assist in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas. 

Coast Guard personnel from Sector Columbia River, in Warrenton, Oregon, Air Station Port Angeles, Sector Puget Sound and the 13th District have deployed in response to the hurricane.

One MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter has been deployed from Sector Columbia River to Air Station San Diego, California, to help in covering Coast Guard missions as San Diego aircraft have been deployed to provide hurricane response support in Texas.

The Coast Guard has rescued more than 1,450 people as a result of the hurricane impact. The Coast Guard has 20 helicopters in the region conducting rescue operations along with crews on land and water working with state and local response personnel.

"This is an all-hands response that involves personnel and support from across the country," said Capt. Sean Cross, incident management chief, 13th District. "Our crews train using standardized procedures on identical assets regardless of their home unit. This facilitates response flexibility by allowing us to mix and match crews and assets from different locations in time of crisis such as this."

Additional personnel from the Pacific Northwest are on standby to provide support as response efforts require.

For the latest response information visit: http://www.news.uscg.mil/News-by-Region/8th-District-Heartland/

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From the Oregon Humane Society:

A disaster response team from the Oregon Humane Society is deploying to help pets stranded by Hurricane Harvey. The team, consisting of four to six people, will be arriving in Texas this week and is expected to be the first of multiple OHS teams going to Texas. 

Team members, who are certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and experienced in the day-to-day operation of emergency shelters, will be assisting with caring for animals at a facility located in the Houston area.

“Natural disasters of this scale can leave thousands of animals without homes and will easily overwhelm the ability of local shelters to care for pets,” said Sharon Harmon, OHS President and CEO. The OHS team will work hand-in-hand with the Houston SPCA, and will provide assistance in caring for animals at a facility located in the Houston area.

OHS has an experienced group of staff and volunteers who respond to emergency situations across the country. In the last few years, team members have deployed to help animals affected by Hurricane Sandy and the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma. During Hurricane Katrina, OHS team members spent several weeks in the disaster zone rescuing pets, and brought more than 100 abandoned animals to OHS for adoption. 

The nonprofit OHS is not affiliated with any national or regional animal organization and receives no tax dollars to support its work.

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From the Better Business Bureau:

The Better Business Bureau and BBB Wise Giving Alliance are advising people to help as much as they can in the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, but to do so with caution and make sure their donations get to the people who need it most.

“The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey prompts us to do what we can to help as soon as possible,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB’s Give.org,) “but donors need to be aware of some key cautions so that their generosity will get to those in need quickly.” 

The National Weather Service reports that Hurricane Harvey has brought over 20 inches of rain to portions of southeast Texas and the volume of flooding is unprecedented for this area. And, another 15-25 inches of rain is anticipated in the days to come. As the impact of this storm on Texas communities is heart wrenching, many will seek to contribute to help those in need. 

BBBs are already seeing crowdfunding appeals of a dubious nature, and in the days ahead expect to see “storm chasers” looking to make a quick buck off of clean-up efforts (bbb.org/storm). Consumers can report suspected scams to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker) or the Texas Attorney General’s hotline (800-621-0508 or consumeremergency@nag.texas.gov).

BBB Wise Giving Alliance suggests that donors keep the following tips in mind to help avoid questionable appeals for support:

  1. Verify the trustworthiness of soliciting relief organizations by visiting Give.org to access free reports that specify if the charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
  2. See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address immediate needs. 
  3. Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to see whether they are equipped to provide aid effectively. 
  4. Be cautious about gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance. 
  5. Understand crowdfunding. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster, and it is often difficult for donors to verify the trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support. If you decide to contribute via crowdfunding, it is probably best to give to people who you personally know that have posted requests for assistance. For more Give.org tips on crowdfunding, check out this Wise Giving Wednesday post.
  6. Phases of disaster relief. Remember that every disaster has several phases – rescue, emergency relief, and recovery. Each part relies on public support and continuing funding for success. The need for donations doesn’t stop when the headlines do.
  7. Recovery time line. For many communities, recovery will be a long-term activity that can take many months or years to accomplish, depending on the extent of the damage. Those truly concerned about helping communities bounce back will have many opportunities to help.
  8. Disaster planning. Although it may seem obvious, no one wants to experience a repeat performance of a disaster. Areas that work toward recovery will probably also need to develop plans to better respond to a similar storm in the future. Even those that already had measures in place can find ways to improve based on experience.

The following is a list of BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., organizations that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability) that are raising funds for Hurricane Harvey relief assistance. This list will be updated as additional relief efforts come to BBB WGA’s attention. 

American Red Cross

AmeriCares

Church World Service

Direct Relief

GlobalGiving Foundation

Humane Society of the United States

Islamic Relief USA

MAP International

Operation USA

Salvation Army

Save the Children

United Methodist Committee on Relief

United Way of Greater Houston


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