Tomorrow morning, September 25th, 2020, at 9 a.m. evacuation level changes will go into effect in Marion County. The changes are being made following careful consultation with fire management officials, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Marion County Public Works, and many other partner agencies.
The cities of Detroit, Idanha and the Elkhorn community along North Fork Road will be reduced to a Level 2 – "Be Set" evacuation level. Crews have been working tirelessly to restore access to evacuated areas. While residents will be able to return to these communities, many hazards remain and core services have not been restored to residences.
Detroit/Idanha Access Using Pilot Cars:
The Oregon Department of Transportation is working with multiple contractors to remove hazardous trees and debris along OR 22E between mile post 33, in Gates, and mile post 65, near Marion Forks. To allow residents access to the cities of Detroit and Idanha, ODOT will be using pilot cars to lead residents through the closed sections of OR 22E between Gates and Detroit. Residents may travel freely between Detroit and Idanha with OR 22E closed to eastbound traffic at mile post 56.2, west of Cooper's Ridge Rd.
There is no through access to the Santiam Pass from the Detroit/Idanha area at this time. Tree removal in the area between Gates and Detroit will cause delays for the inbound and outbound pilot car trips. Residents should expect at least one hour to make a one-way trip. Pilot cars guiding residents between Gates and Detroit will be limited to the following daily schedule:
· 9 a.m. – Pilot car departs Gates to Detroit
· 11 a.m. – Pilot car returns from Detroit to Gates
· 1 p.m. – Pilot car departs Gates to Detroit
· 5 p.m. – Pilot car returns from Detroit to Gates
"As our residents return to the cities of Detroit and Idanha, we are asking the media and other visitors to be respectful of our community members during this difficult time," City of Detroit Mayor Jim Trett. "This will be the first time many of our residents are seeing the extent of the damage following the wildfires. Please allow our residents an opportunity to grieve these losses privately."
Due to the remaining hazards in the cities of Detroit and Idanha and lack of basic services, we request non-residents of Detroit and Idanha to refrain from traveling to this area. The Marion County Sheriff's Office continues to coordinate with partner law enforcement agencies to maintain an enhanced presence in the Detroit and Idanha communities as residents return to the area.
North Fork Rd / Elkhorn:
The North Fork Road corridor will be reduced to a Level 2 – "Be Set" status up to the boundary with U.S. Forest Service property, near mile post 15.5. Some roadways will remain closed to traffic by Marion County Public Works while trees are removed and damaged culverts and roadways can be repaired:
· Gates Hill Road between North Fork Rd and OR 22E
· North Fork Rd east of Gates Hill Road
Numerous fire damaged trees remain near roadways and properties. These trees may fall at any time. Power has not yet been restored to the North Fork area. We urge residents to remain vigilant and be prepared encounter downed trees on the road.
· Watch out for falling rocks and debris in the roadway.
· Do not approach downed power lines.
· Drive slowly! Be watchful for personnel working in the roadway as road cleanup and utility repairs are still ongoing.
· Keep a safe distance from septic tanks and other buried structures that may have been damaged in the fire.
· All county parks located within the fire zone are closed.
· Comply with roadway signs and instructions provided by road crews, utility workers and law enforcement.
· Keep dogs on leashes, many hazards exist which may be harmful to animals.
The Willamette National Forest remains closed to the public at this time, updates can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/willamette/.
Wildfire Ash & Debris
Remediation of property destroyed or damaged by wildfire can be dangerous and should be approached with caution. There are special requirements for transporting and disposing of wildfire debris. For more information about debris removal see the attachment from Marion County Environmental Services.
Evacuation levels for communities in Marion County as of 9:00 am on September 25th, 2020:
Level 3 – "Go"
Crooked Finger Rd south of the cattle guard
Level 2 – "Be Set"
OR 22E between mile post 33 to 59.5, west of Cooper's Ridge Road
Level 1 – "Ready"
Mill City Gates Lyons Mehama
The evacuation map for Marion County will be updated at 9 a.m., September 25th, 2020, to reflect the updated evacuation levels. The evacuation map and resources for community members impacted by the recent wildfires can be found on the Marion County website at www.co.marion.or.us/fire.
Community members who happen to reside in Linn County may find up to date information at www.LinnSheriff.org.