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Boise Cascade donation match sees success

A Boise Cascade Wood Products offer to match $100,000 in donations for people impacted by local fires and COVID-19 impacts spurred $167,136 in contributions within a week.

The teamwork by the community and company brought in $267,136 to help the social services agency ACCESS provide food, housing, shelter and other basic needs for Jackson County residents.

More than 430 people and businesses donated after Boise Cascade made the matching offer Sept. 22, ACCESS said.

“We were heartened and humbled by the outpouring of support we received. Boise Cascade’s matching donation was an inspiration to so many in our community to help their neighbors who have lost so much,” said Kellie Battaglia, development director for ACCESS. “We are very proud and lucky to be a part of this giving community.”

For information on help from ACCESS and other sources, or to make a donation to ACCESS, see accesshelps.org or call 541-779-6691.

Boise Cascade is also helping in the effort to clean up hazardous debris left over in the wake of local fires.

Environmental Protection Agency contractors are turning a large Boise Cascade yard in Central Point into a home base this week.

They’ll set up an office, storage trailers, wash stations, equipment and debris collection areas, said John Vial, acting director of the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center.

From the Boise Cascade yard, hazardous debris will be taken to appropriate landfill facilities, Vial said.

The EPA contractors will survey the damage and scope of the problem, then start on-the-ground cleanup Oct. 19, with eight crews of six to seven people, Vial said.

“That’s a strong contingent showing up to get started on this household hazardous waste,” he said.

All of the estimated $7.75 million cost of the hazardous waste debris cleanup is being covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Oregon.

FEMA has agreed to pay for at least 75% of the cost of cleaning up the remaining debris, a monumental task with a nearly $186.5 million price tag. The state is requesting 100% coverage.

It’s not clear yet who will have to pay the remaining 25% of the costs if FEMA doesn’t agree to contribute more.

Officials with Jackson County and the cities of Phoenix and Talent are recommending that people not attempt the complex, potentially dangerous task of cleaning up hazardous waste themselves.

Property owners can opt in to either the hazardous waste cleanup program, or that program plus the remaining debris cleanup program.

To take part, they need to sign right-of-entry forms for cleanup crews to enter their property.

Jackson County has mailed right-of-entry forms to all 959 property owners who have been identified as needing to fill out a form, officials said this week.

Completed forms can be mailed or dropped off at Jackson County Development Services, 10 S. Oakdale Ave., Room 100, Medford, OR 97501.

With people scattered after the fires, the county is offering other ways for people to access and fill out the forms.

Forms are available at jacksoncounty.org/ROE. Forms can be filled out online or paper forms can be scanned and emailed to colemanrk@jacksoncounty.org.

Forms are also available at Multi Agency Resource Centers set up to aid fire victims, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Central High School, 815 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford; Talent Elementary School, 307 Wagner Creek Road; and the Phoenix Civic Center, 220 N. Main St.

People with questions can call the right-of-entry hotline at 682-800-5737.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

Streaks of red fire retardant dropped by air tankers are seen on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, amid the structures burned by the Almeda Fire in Talent, Ore.