Letters, Sept. 26
We are fortunate in Jackson County to have good people with deep Oregon roots running for Jackson County commissioner. The crucial difference is Dave Dotterrer’s breadth and depth of complex, multi-million dollar federal and state budgets that dwarf that of the county in amount and complexity.
Dave served on the Ashland City Planning Commission and the YMCA Board of Directors. He is chairman of a charter school board, which has made him directly involved in how to proceed in the face of COVID-19. He chaired the committee to coordinate disaster responders in Jackson County which, as KDRV recognized during a Sept. 14 news report, has been active connecting those in need with volunteers looking to help in the wildfire crises.
All this and more make him the stronger of the candidates for Jackson County commissioner.
Terrie Martin: the people’s choice
Looking out for the people of Jackson County comes naturally to Terrie Martin.
In 2007 the county commissioners defunded the Southern Oregon Historical Society, which honors “the pride and pain of people” of the Rogue Valley. Terrie helped save it, and served on its board for years.
Her family business, D&S Harley-Davidson, organized the annual event to raise money for local women needing mammograms, and set up Bikers With Heart, a charitable foundation for local children who need medical help, from experimental treatments to wheelchairs.
Now Terrie is running for county commissioner, and committed to improving emergency protections for the people of Jackson County. She has first-hand experience of the devastation caused by the Almeda fire: her Harley-Davidson business was leveled.
High on her agenda is upgrading our system for emergency alerts, to reach everyone via area television, radio, personal phones, and a website. She has my vote!
This is the story of a few of many unsung heroes of the Almeda Drive fire — the caregivers of Ashland Supportive Housing (ASH). Since 1982, ASH has provided 24/7 care to intellectually/developmentally disabled (I/DD) clients in residential group homes including two in Ashland’s Quiet Village neighborhood.
At 11:15 on the morning of Sept. 8, caregivers at the ASH home on Almeda Drive spotted flames rising behind the back fence and immediately began evacuating. Within 15 minutes, all residents of the two homes under evacuation orders had been loaded into vans along with their go-bags, critical medications, wheelchairs, walkers, house computers and other check-list items, and were headed for safety. Fifteen minutes, start to finish.
Caregivers had undergone regular emergency drills to prepare for this day. They followed their training and drove the residents to the safety of Ashwood Inn, an ASH respite care inn six miles south and well away from the fire. There, they made a party — crafts, pizza, movies and games. Some of these caregivers live in Talent and Phoenix and were unsure how their own homes were faring. All of them stayed beyond the end their shifts when no one could come to relieve them. And they set the tone for ASH’s clients, remaining calm and confident throughout. They served their disabled charges with grace and courage.
In the end, two of ASH’s staff lost their homes and all their possessions in the fire. Others were evacuated for days before being allowed to return home.
To help these heroes, readers may donate to Ashland Supportive Housing’s emergency fire relief fund, PO Box 3536, Ashland, OR 97520. ASH, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has served the I/DD community in Ashland since 1982.
Nancy A. Parker