News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Walls and roofs going up thanks to Canyon coalition 

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

By James Day

The Santiam Canyon wildfire recovery effort continues to build partnerships and coalitions that continue to make progress.

Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), the Santiam Canyon Long Term Recovery Group (SCLTRG), the Gates Community Church and the Service Integration Team at Santiam Memorial Hospital have teamed up on a simple project: Build new homes for wildfire survivors.

The team effort has been in place since May of 2021, said Kevin Dial, recovery manager for the SCLTRG. Dial reported that the ministry volunteers started packets for 10 homes last year and 7 of those are currently past the permit and design phases and are moving into the build phase.  The others are still in various stages of progress, but the next 10 will soon be started for 2022.  

Each house is on an expected two-year window for completion, but the project can be completed before that timeline in many cases. 

Christian Aid Ministries is 100% self-supporting and its volunteers are required to bring their support to this effort, including flights and driving to the project, food during the work time, housing and all other resources.  

The volunteers work with the survivor to lock in the plans, collaborate with a Construction Contractors Board contractor for Oregon’s requirements to develop a house plan and then build the home.

The survivor, Dial said, still needs to secure septic and building permits, gather and purchase materials, and in many cases the homeowner will be like the contractor for the build with the partnership of Joe Nicholes at CAM.  

The group also has two CCB contractors that have partnered with CAM to verify work and compliance with Oregon building standards and regulations.

The volunteers are being hosted by the Gates Community Church, reports Mary Lou Hazelwood, an adviser to the SCLTRG board.  There are 24 CAM volunteers serving month-long terms and 15 who participate for a week at a time. The volunteers were on hand from last August through October and returned in January for a stretch scheduled to run through May.

“The volunteers come from all over the United States and pay all of their own expenses,” Hazelwood said.   “The resident volunteers live in trailers, and the group is self-sufficient. They provide their own food and serve breakfast and dinner at the Gates Church and provide box lunches for the crews.

“I offered our many, many thanks and appreciation for their endeavors and expressed our gratefulness for all their works,” Hazelwood said.

The volunteers, Hazelwood said, do not need any assistance in food items or help with preparation or serving, but the group is seeking contributions of paper products, including toilet paper, paper plates, napkins, cups (hot and cold) and plastic spoons.

Those wishing to help, Hazelwood said, should call Joe Nicholes, 330-473-5808 or Marlene Miller, 330-231-9892, of Christian Aid Ministries.

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