Disasters & Accidents


September’s National Preparedness Month has sparked renewed interest in earthquakes and other natural disasters in Oregon. Corvallis will host a readiness forum tonight (Thursday).

Rachael McDonald

Thursday, on the 4th day of fall term, a 26-year old man opened fire in a classroom at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. The Douglas County Sheriff says 10 people were killed, 7 wounded. The shooter was killed by law enforcement.

Lane Blood Center

The fatal bus and vehicle crash in Seattle today has the potential to impact the northwest blood supply. Four people were killed, eight were critically injured. At least twenty others received minor injuries. The injured patients are being treated in trauma centers.  

The Lane Blood Center says it is part of Bloodworks Northwest, a regional network. The center in Eugene says it is responding to additional orders for blood components from a number of the hospitals receiving injured patients.


September is National Preparedness Month and a series of emergency response events has been taking place across the state. Tomorrow (Tuesday) congressman Peter DeFazio will host an earthquake early warning roundtable at the U of O.

As the ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Congressman DeFazio introduced a federal bill to fund an earthquake early warning system for the west coast. The roundtable is an official committee hearing. Scott Ashford, Dean of Engineering at OSU, studies the effects to utilities and services in an emergency:


Fire crews battling the Canyon Creek Complex of fires near John Day say people who've been evacuated for weeks can now return to their homes. Evacuation alerts were lifted Wednesday but some residents must still be on notice to leave if conditions change.

Thousands of farm workers living in wildfire country are particularly vulnerable in times of emergency. One problem is that warnings in Spanish don’t reach everyone that needs to hear them.


High winds are fueling the Canyon Creek Complex Fires this weekend.

Les Zaitz/AP

When Oregon families lose their homes in a wildfire, they can now get a little help rebuilding. The new “Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Account” is open.

Oregon Representative Mike McLane calls it a way to “fill the gap” when families lose everything to wildfire. He sponsored House Bill 3148 to provide assistance in the form of small grants to those eligible. 

The money, $5,000 per household, is meant to supplement insurance and personal savings. Eligibility is based on income levels.

Northwest wildfires have had widespread effects on travel and air quality. Another unfortunate consequence is a critically low blood supply.

Several compounding factors have squeezed the blood supply. Mobile donation drivers can’t get to some rural sites, and university and high school drives aren’t yet running. There are other reasons, too, says Cynthia Vignos of the Lane Blood Center:

For Fire Crews in Chelan, Safety A Top Priority

Aug 23, 2015
Courtney Flatt

Fire crews Saturday had an easier time with wind in North Central Washington. That meant it was easier to fight the Chelan Complex. It also meant the area had unhealthy levels of smoke. Correspondent Courtney Flatt talked with fire crews protecting homes on the Lake Chelan’s south shore.

Smoke rises from a smoldering fire a few feet away from a mobile home on Lake Chelan. Helicopters continuously dip water from the lake and dump it on hot spots. The area is still under a mandatory evacuation order. The fire, called First Creek, is two percent contained.