City of Eugene: COVID-19 Community Update

For the first time since the COVID-19 response started earlier this year, Lane County has increased the local alert level to high. This means there are increased cases and spread in our community, local healthcare facilities are stressed but still have some room, and most importantly, we must all take measures to limit contact and modify everyday activities to reduce exposure.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Lane County has grown at an alarming rate since early September. According to Lane County Public Health, we are on an upward trajectory that could have exponential growth over the coming weeks.

“This should serve as a reality check and wakeup call for people in Eugene and throughout Lane County,” Mayor Lucy Vinis said. “If we don’t recommit to drastic measures now – things like limiting our interactions with others, wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, staying home when we’re sick and washing our hands – this virus could devastate our community. Our neighbors, friends and family could get sick, need to go to the hospital and in some cases – even die.”

According to Lane County Public Health, social gatherings have been the biggest driver of increased cases, especially among people ages 17-28. There have been seven recent outbreaks among this age group. Some of the people at those outbreaks contacted a large number of people after contracting the virus. It is important to understand that young people can and do get the virus, and can then spread it to even more vulnerable populations without knowing it.

“This is a community-driven virus and we all need to look at our own actions and behaviors, regardless of age,” Incident Commander of Eugene’s response Chris Heppel said. “We don’t live in vacuums, we’re all connected in some way. We need to evaluate when and how we’re having those social interactions. If they’re not necessary at this point, it’s probably best to hold off.”

Lane County Public Health is expecting this uptick to last for at least three to four weeks, longer if people don’t modify their behaviors. We urge you to please think about your actions over the coming weeks and make sure you’re practicing the four Ws:

  1. Wear a face covering – indoors and outside when you can’t maintain 6 feet of space, it’s a statewide requirement
  2. Watch your distance – stay 6-feet apart from those outside your household and limit your gathering size
  3. Wash your hands – often with soap and water for 20 seconds throughout the day
  4. Wait it out – stay home if you are sick

As flu shots become available this season, please utilize this public health tool. Preventing flu cases helps COVID-19 efforts in our community by decreasing the strain on our healthcare resources.

Answer the Call – Contact Tracing is Important to Stop the Spread   

If you get a call or voicemail from a Public Health contact tracer, please answer or return the call. Contact tracing is critical to our community’s ability to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19. People who participate in contact tracing are actively helping to keep their community safe by helping public health officials track the virus. For more information from Lane County Public Health on contact tracing please visit their contact tracing webpage. The State of Oregon’s contact tracing web page also offers useful information and resources. 

COVID-19 Resources 

See a list of Community Resources for physical and mental health, food, housing, businesses, employees, schools and children, as well as information in Spanish.

Also learn how you can help. Our partners have a significant amount of information available online. Please visit these resources for the most up to date information:

Lane County Call Center: Open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 541-682-1380

McKenzie Fire (aka Holiday Farm Fire) Resources

Disaster Response Volunteering for the Red Cross

The Red Cross is looking for volunteers in our area to support the wildfire disaster response.  Currently the Red Cross is seeking volunteers to take shifts helping with feeding activities and providing support at our various shelter locations.  Shifts will be anywhere from 2-6 hours, and will be happening daily.  There is no required commitment to number of shifts, so even if someone can fill only one shift, we can use their help.  The Red Cross will provide training on-site to volunteers, so anyone 18+ is welcome to participate and will not need previous disaster experience for these roles.  If you could please share this with anyone interested in helping those effected by the wildfires. 

How to Volunteer:

If you are interested in helping, the first step is to use the link below to create an application in our Volunteer Connection system.  You will use Volunteer Connection to take trainings, sign up for shifts and stay looped in to our ongoing needs during our local responses.  Click the link and fill out the form on the right-hand side that says, “Create Red Cross ID.”

If the system says your email is already registered in the system, use the “Forgot Password” link to set a password. Then click this sign up link again, but this time, log-in on the left hand side with your email/password and that should start the application.

Click Here to Sign Up!

Once your application is created, you’ll be guided to take a few online trainings and have access to our volunteer shift listings in your area.  The volunteer needs during a disaster are ever changing, so if you don’t see something available in your area now, that could change very quickly.  Please keep an eye out for email communication from the Red Cross to stay up to date with our volunteer needs.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the application process.  Thank you again for your support.  Take care.

Sam Haffey
Senior Recruitment Specialist
American Red Cross
Cascades Region
3131 N Vancouver Ave.
Portland, OR 97227
(541) 414-7576

Home Sharing Opportunity to make rental space available for victims of Oregon’s fires

Good Morning Homeowners of Oregon,

Are you willing to help fellow Oregonians who are victims of Oregon’s fires?  

Here is how you can help:

If you are willing to homeshare with a person or persons displaced by the fires, and have not already done so, please visit to set up your free homesharing profile and rental listing and start matching with compatible renters. Once you find your match, they move in, and you start collecting rent, insurance coverage will also kick in on the day of the first rent payment. Sign up at the link above to get your service for free. 

Tips for helping your community:

In the “All About You” section of your profile, make sure to note that you’re interested in helping someone impacted by the fires. Consider saying something like, “I’m looking to help someone displaced by fire with a place to stay for X weeks/months.”

  • Note: “All About You” is an optional question, so don’t skip it!
  • We encourage you to allow your housemate to stay for at least 90 days. This will allow time for them to access fire insurance, benefits and support services and to find a suitable long-term place to live.
  • Consider setting a rental rate as low as you can accommodate for this time. Consider the value of the utilities and supplies relative to your income when setting your rate.
  • Your space doesn’t have to be perfect! List the space you have to offer and share pictures of the home so that people can decide if your place is a good fit for them.
  • Please consider allowing children accompanied by a parent or guardian to stay in your home. A household environment is the best scenario for children, versus a shelter. 

Thank you for your interest in supporting our community. We appreciate you!

All the best,
Marissa Cade 
HSO Program Manager &
Home Share Oregon

Reducing fire risk in our neighborhoods

More than 100 fires are burning in the western U.S. and over 4,350,558 acres have burned so far (1). More than 500,000 people in Oregon were under evacuation orders, as unprecedented acres of wildfires race across forests, as of September 10th (2). Climate change has been a key factor in increasing the risk and extent of wildfires in the Western United States. The risk of wildfire depends on a factors such as temperature, soil moisture, and the presence of trees, shrubs, and other fuels. These factors have strong ties to climate change. (3)

I live with my family on a ridge in the Southwest Hills Neighborhood of Eugene, surrounded by acres of forests. We are privileged to live here, we love the trees and wildlife, but it comes with an emotional cost for me. I dread the potential for wildfires every summer, until the rains begin in earnest.

A year and a half ago I confronted my fear and contacted a Fire Suppression Coordinator with the Oregon Department of Forestry, and asked him to speak to a group of neighbors. He accepted and did an excellent job of explaining fire behavior, and the importance of maintaining the area around our homes to reduce the risk of fire, to a group of about 14. He recommended the Firewise USA program as a good educational program (4). The good news is that management of one’s home and yard can really reduce the risk of one’s house burning down.

This program suggests to start with making one’s house less flammable (remove flammable material from roof, gutters, and more), and managing vegetation in the zone within 5 feet of your home, then working outward. Both the house and the landscape adjacent to it play a critical role in structures surviving a wildfire (5).

To maintain a defensible space (the area between a house and an oncoming wildfire, where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the wildfire threat) around one’s home, it starts with “fuel ladders.” The term fuel ladder refers to live and dead vegetation which can allow fire to climb from ground-level vegetation into the tree canopy (6). Most wildfires will not reach the crown of a tree if the vertical fuel is not continuous. When fire climbs a fuel ladder and reaches the crown of a tree it gains heat intensity and can more easily ignite surrounding vegetation and structures. Removing ladder fuel involves pruning the lower branches on trees, and trimming or removing vegetation growing under trees. (7)

Wider spacing of trees can also reduce the intensity of a fire (7) and can also reduce plant competition for soil moisture and nutrients, allowing trees and other vegetation to remain healthier with increasing temperatures and drought (8). Other important management actions, which can decrease fire risk, include trimming weeds and grass next to roads before the vegetation dries out, and avoiding the use of power tools with metal blades on dry vegetation during the fire season (9).

Since learning more about reducing our fire risk, my husband and I hired an arborist to remove and prune trees, and have spent hours removing fuel ladders, reducing the density of trees and shrubs, and mowing grass and forbs. We still have work to do before we feel that we’ve managed our fire risk at a level we are comfortable with. We have observed that several of the neighbors who attended this talk have also worked to reduce their property’s fire risk.

If you live in or near forests check out the Firewise USA website ( and-risks/Wildfire/Firewise-USA), and consider reducing the risk of fire on your property. Let your neighbors know about this program. Contact a fire reduction specialist at OSU Extension with questions (; Phone: 541-344-5859).

Also consider reducing your carbon emissions, to slow the heating of our planet. Both efforts, reducing our neighborhood wildfire risk and moving into a fossil fuel free future, require strong community efforts. We’re all in this together.




– Karen Austin

More Resources for Learning about Fire Risk Reduction:

Here is a National Fire Protection Association pamphlet explaining the projects and tasks needed to protect one’s home in zones starting with the house and moving outward;

Here is a video that explains how to decrease the fuels around one’s home and to limit ways for embers to gain access to flammable areas of your house, by the National Fire Protection Association (13 minutes) –

Another video that focuses on how to clear vegetation near the house to reduce the risk of your house catching fire, by the National Fire Protection Association (4 minutes) –

The Firewise USA website has numerous Fact Sheets –

Food for Lane County Food Drive for Wildfire victims

Food for Lane County is holding a Food Drive to support the many folks who have lost everything due to the fires. Providing access to food is one way you and the broader community can help. Please consider sending a check to Food for Lane County, 770 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene, OR 97402. Your donation will be doubled by a matching donation from an anonymous donor. All donations up to $100,000 received before September 30, 2020 will be matched by a generous anonymous donor.

Food donations can be taken to the Food for Lane County Bailey Hill location or to the West Broadway Warehouse at 2345 West Broadway, which is open from Monday through Thursday from 12:00 to 3:00 PM. Food donations can also be dropped off at all Goodwill locations.

Additional Holiday Farm Fire Updates and Resources

UPDATED 9-15-20 at 6:45am on

Info changing moment by moment, please visit the Lane County web site for official information updates, this link for evacuation maps, and this link for a great fire map. For statewide info go to Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office (OSFM) are the lead fire-fighting agencies currently assigned to the Holiday Farm Fire. Follow ODF on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for additional updates. ¿Está buscando información de Holiday Farm Fire en español? Visite nuestra página de información en español

Call Center

Residents who are affected by the McKenzie/Holiday Farm Fire who have inquiries may call Lane County’s non-emergency call center at 541-682-3977 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.After-hours calls will be transferred to the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency phone line.


Lane Community College is currently closed to all except Public Safety, but students and staff displaced by fire with a vehicle can call Public Safety at 541-463-5558 to be provided with a safe place to park and stay in their vehicle, with access to water, wifi, and restrooms. The University of Oregon will provide showers and temporary housing for UO employees and students. If you are a university employee or student in need of such assistance, go to to complete a web form.


Center for Community Counseling has geared up to provide short term counseling for those impacted by the wildfires. They will waive the fees for these sessions. People needing support can call them at 541-344-0620 or visit

Holiday Farm Fire stress-support resources

  • Emotional Support: 1(800) 923-HELP (4357)
  • Disaster Stress: 1(800) 985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746

In-Person Crisis Support: The Graduate Hotel, 66 E. 6th Ave., Eugene, M-F, 10a-1p & 2p-5p

The Child Center’s Crisis Response Program is available 24/7 at 1-888-989-9990 for families with children & youth experiencing mental or behavioral health crises in Lane Cty.

White Bird Clinic’s 24/7 Crisis Services program is available 24/7 for all Lane County residents. Trained counselors have a deep ability to empathize with clients, as well as extensive knowledge of local resources that are appropriate to provide ongoing care.

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746, 24/7



  • Bloodworks Northwest is hosting a Pop-Up Blood Drive at the Holiday Inn Express in Springfield (919 Kruse Way). Appointments and masks required. Make an appointment online or call 800-398-7888.
  • Blue River’s upper McKenzie Fire Chief Rainbow Fundraiser: Chief Christiana Rainbow Plews is the Fire Chief of the Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Protection District near Blue River, Oregon where the Holiday Farm Fire has been rearing its incredible and ugly head this week. Rainbow and half a dozen of her district volunteers, had their own homes burn to the ground while they were out saving lives and mitigating damage from the fire. They lost everything. Rainbow made the call to raise the evacuation level early so that the citizens in her jurisdiction had time to get out safely.
  • Boop Troop Eugene, LLC’s funds will go directly to Blue River evacuees via Paypal (select Holiday Fire evacuation in PayPal) for local direct aid.
  • Causa Oregon Wildfire Response Fund: All funds donated will be used to purchase emergency supplies for immigrant Oregonians who have been evacuated or lost their homes due to the wildfires.
  • Community Wildfire Refuge Support: Support for COREBlack Thistle Street AidOccupy Medical, and Lane County Mutual Aid.
  • Cottage Grove Community Center is accepting donations by appointment only 541-942-1185
  • Holiday Farm Fire Supply Site is receiving in-kind donations in person at 2699 Roosevelt Blvd, Eugene, OR 97402. Hours 10am-4pm
  • Lane COAD: Register your organization to assist with recovery efforts, request help from a broad array of community organizations at or volunteer time or talents.
  • LoveFirst Evacuation Recovery Center is set up at the Masonic Lodge in Eugene at 2777 Martin Luther King Jr, Blvd is providing mutual aid to impacted community members. Details posted to Facebook page.
  • Out To Pasture Sanctuary Wildfire Evacuation Fund: Out to Pasture Sanctuary scrambled to evacuate over 150 animals just ahead of raging wildfires threatening the sanctuary in Estacada, Oregon.
  • Lane County Mutual Aid is holding a Supply Drive (masks, especially N95’s, PPE like gloves, diapers, toothbrushes and toothpaste, sanitizer, menstrual products and soap. Drop offs accepted M-F 9am-12pm at the NAACP Office 330 High St. Call or text Lane County Mutual aid 541-690-8107 for after hour drop off coordination.
  • United Way’s Wildfire Response Fund: Your gift to this emergency fund provides immediate assistance to local nonprofits meeting the needs of families and individuals who have lost their homes, their businesses, or have been otherwise impacted by the 2020 fires in Lane County.

If you would like to volunteer your time to help victims of the Holiday Farm Fire, a new site has opened.

— KEZI 9 NEWS (@KEZI9) September 13, 2020

Evacuation Sites

The temporary evacuation sites have been transitioned to being offered by telephone. The Red Cross is available to offer resources to those who have been impacted by the Holiday Farm Fires. For Red Cross resources, please call 1-888-680-1455 or 1-503-284-1234.


Some of Food for Lane County’s operations are experiencing temporary modification. The pantry in McKenzie Bridge and Marcola are both closed. For community members who need pantry services, please review the lists at and contact the pantry you wish to visit ahead of time to verify service hours.

SNAP: If you have lost your food due to the wildfires, you can have up to $200 of your SNAP benefits reloaded onto your card. Folks in this situation should contact the local ODHS office and fill out a short form stating what food they lost and how they were impacted by the fires. You don’t need to go to “your” ODHS office, you can just go to the one closest to you if you have been evacuated. Oregon Department of Human Services local offices are also helping to coordinate basic needs for all evacuees, such as food boxes, whether you receive SNAP benefits or not.

Financial Assistance


  • Organizations seeking funds to support their wildfire response efforts in Lane County can apply for a Wildfire Response grant online through United Way.
  • The Ford Family Foundation has already awarded grants totaling about $225,000 right away to emergency response funds.
  • Rather than establishing a separate relief fund, the Oregon Community Foundation is providing information (including links to the various United Ways in impacted communities) on its website about which organizations are supporting wildfire relief efforts to get resources to communities as quickly as possible.
  • MRG Foundation continues funding organizations and efforts that are focused on BIPOC, Immigrant, Tribal communities, and social/racial justice organizations, MRG Foundation is holding wildfire relief funds that focus on equity.

Medical Needs

  • Occupy Medical staff have been doing rounds for people put in hotels by Red Cross or flagged with need.
  • PeaceHealth clinics in the Eugene-Springfield area are open regular hours again.
  • Pacific Source Members: Resources and supports that address basic needs (e.g., shelter, air purifiers, food, clothing, and transportation) may be available, call 888-970-2507.
  • White Bird Medical Clinic: Offering appointments by telehealth and providing limited onsite care for patients without computer or smartphone access.


Shelter / Smoke Respite Centers

Daytime smoke respite shelters are available in Eugene, Creswell, Cottage Grove, Coburg, and Junction City at the locations listed below for individuals who need a reprieve from the wildfire smoke and unhealthy air quality. The temporary evacuation sites have been transitioned to being offered by telephone.  The Red Cross is available to offer shelter to those who have been impacted by the Holiday Farm Fires, call 1-503-284-1234. For other Red Cross resources, call 1-888-680-1455 or

  • Lane Events Center (796 W. 13th Ave., Eugene) 8am-8pm
  • White Bird is offering 24/7 referrals to the center for smoke respite shelter (very limited space available) and access to sleeping mat and bedding, water, meals, bathrooms, fresh air (tested by local gov’t!), 24-hour ability to come and go. Contact 541-687-4000 / 1-800-422-7558 for information. 
  • New Hope Baptist Church, 597 S. Front St., Creswell. (541) 895-4436 24/7, call first!
  • Coburg City Hall (91136 N. Willamette St., Coburg) 8am-8pm
  • Coast Fork Watershed Office (28 S. 6th Street, Suite A, Cottage Grove) 8am-5pm 541-767-9717
  • Junction City King’s Grace Fellowship (48 18th Avenue, Junction City) Call ahead to Pastor Sara Eads to confirm space (541-514-9298).
  • Fern Ridge High School (8834 Territorial Hwy, Elmira) has RV parking, water, WiFi, restrooms and showers
  • RVs Only
  • City of Destiny Church parking lot located at 2065 Centennial Blvd is now open for EVACUEES RV’s only.  They can not house the previously-unhoused-before-this-event population due to not having permits from St. Vincent D’Paul at this time– they MUST be the fire evacuees. Contact 458-201-8590 for details.
  • North West Eugene – Space with Lights, 3 portable restrooms, access to EWEB hose connection. Space for up to 50 RV’s. Call Jordan (541) 321-3654.
  • Veneta – Space with no utilities, must be self-contained. Animals if friendly and controlled (goats and other animals on the site). Call Con at (541) 729-7498. Evacuee’s only.
  • The Cottage Grove Masonic Hall (33322 Row River Road) is also open for those who have been evacuated. They have space for additional recreational vehicles. There are restrooms, showers and a laundry facility. Please call Eston Wicks (541-968-3829) before arriving to confirm space availability.

If you are unhoused and need supplies, please send a detailed text or call Carry It Forward at 541-844-9311.


Holiday Farm Fire Supply Site is 2699 Roosevelt Blvd, Eugene, OR 97402. Hours 10am-4pm

Mutual Aid Groups

LoveFirst Evacuation Recovery Center is set up at the Masonic Lodge in Eugene at 2777 Martin Luther King Jr, Blvd is providing mutual aid to impacted community members. Details posted to Facebook page.

Updates and Evacuation Notices


Safe Ash Clean-Up During and After a Fire

Cleaning up the ash from our homes, yards, businesses and streets will eventually help clean our air and our community, but it must be done safely. Smoke and ash can be harmful to your health and the health of those around you. The greatest risk is from fine particles that are not visible. The information below is for residents and businesses who are cleaning up ash, not those cleaning up burned structures. If you lost your home or business to the fire, you need to take additional precautions.

When you determine it is safe to clean up, Protect Yourself and remember these three Cs: 

  • Control
  • Contain
  • Capture

Protect Yourself

Avoid cleaning up ash until conditions improve and it’s safe to be outdoors. Decisions about when to clean should be based on the level of fine particles and the air. Check today’s air quality.

  • No one with heart or lung conditions should handle ash clean-up.
    If you have symptoms that may be related to exposure to smoke or soot, stop cleaning and consult your doctor. Symptoms include repeated coughing, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, headaches and nausea or unusual fatigue or light headedness.
  • Use a N-95 or P-100 particulate respirator mask.
    Inhaled ash may be irritating to the nose, throat and lungs. Choose a mask with two straps and make sure it fits snugly around your nose and chin. Surgical masks, bandanas and other paper masks do not protect your lungs from the fine particles that are of greatest concern.
  • Avoid skin contact with ash.
    Wear long sleeves, long pants, closed shoes and gloves. Although ash from organic materials like trees and brush is not harmful to the skin, this precautionary measure will protect you from irritation and harm from other types of ash.
  • Protect yourself when others are cleaning around you.
    Cars driving on the street can stir up ash, so cleaning ash from the streets will help avoid future impacts. City street sweepers have vacuums with filters and contain more ash than they stir up. Leave the area or go inside if the cleaning efforts of your neighbors are impacting you.
  • Thoroughly wash fruit and vegetables from your garden before eating.
    Do not consume any food, beverages or medications that have been exposed to significant smoke, ash, heat, pressure, or chemicals.
  • Clean ash off house pets.


Try to control the amount of ash particles that get re-suspended into the air.

  • DO NOT USE LEAF BLOWERS to clean up ash.
    Leaf blowers re-suspend harmful fine particles into the air and create more health concerns.
  • Use only household vacuums or shop vacuums with HEPA filters.
    Standard household and shop vacuums re-suspend harmful fine particles and create more health concerns.
  • Do not allow children to play in ash.
    Wash ash off toys before children play with them and do not allow children to be in areas where ash-covered materials are being disturbed.


Use appropriate cleaning methods for the task at hand.

  • Sweep gently with a push broom, then mop with a damp cloth or hose lightly with water.
    Take care to conserve water. You may allow water to drain into landscaping as ash will not hurt plants or grass.
  • Scrape ash and debris into plastic bags and dispose in the regular trash.
    Closed bags or containers will keep the ash from being released during collection.
  • Commercial cleaning may be needed for carpet, upholstery, and window treatments.


Ash has a high pH and, in large amounts, can be harmful for people, the environment and aquatic life.

  • Protect storm drains from ash and cleaning chemicals.
    Avoid washing ash into storm drains whenever possible. Divert water away from storm drains or try to filter the wash water with gravel bags, filter fabric, fiber rolls, etc., in front of storm drains. Scoop up captured ash and debris and dispose of appropriately.

Learn More

Oregon Health Authority – Coronavirus Update

How to help during the wildfires

Life is stressful for people in Oregon right now with COVID-19. We’ve adapted our lives to cope with the disease, and now we are faced with wildfires and dangerous smoke as well.

Helping is not only a great way to contribute to the community, but it also helps us feel like we can make a difference. People in Oregon are stepping up. Folks are adding displaced chickens to their urban chicken coops, passing on extra filters and fans to make air purifiers and donating food and clothes to evacuation shelters.

If you are considering monetary donations, a guide to safe giving is available at this link.

Here are some other ways you can help:

Paid leave available for COVID-19 quarantine or isolation

Do you have to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19 but don’t have paid time off?

A new program starts this week to help people who work in Oregon and need to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19 exposure, but do not have access to COVID-19-related paid sick leave.

The COVID-19 Temporary Paid Leave Program was created with $30 million received from the federal government to help Oregon respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

People who qualify will receive a $120 per-day payment for up to 10 working days ($1,200 total) for the time they are required quarantine.

Employees can apply online starting today at

The application form is available in English, Spanish, and Russian. Those who do not have access to electronic applications can call 833-685-0850 (toll-free) or 503-947-0130. Those who need help in a language other than these three can call 503-947-0131 for help.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) and the Department of Revenue are collaborating on the new program to ensure employees meet the necessary eligibility requirements. To see if you meet them, take this eligibility quiz, or see the requirements on the DCBS site.

Because the available funds are limited, the program is available only to quarantine periods that were in place on or after Sept. 16. Applicants can claim only one quarantine period.

OHA announces new COVID-19 wastewater monitoring project

OHA today announced it had launched a statewide COVID-19 wastewater monitoring project to study the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in more than 40 small- to medium-sized communities around the state. The project, which will include weekly wastewater testing over the next 30 months, will enable epidemiologists to better understand the circulation of COVID-19 in some of Oregon’s communities. It will serve as an “early warning” system to tell if COVID-19 is spreading silently in communities.

“This program holds promise to help us monitor COVID-19 in our communities,” said Melissa Sutton MD, MPH, Medical Director for Respiratory Viral Pathogens at OHA and a principal investigator for the wastewater study. “We look forward to our partnership with local communities and researchers. Together we hope to better understand the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon.”

Much of the work will be carried out by Oregon State University researchers, along with local partners. Funding for this program comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Community Update and Wildfire Resources

Community Update and Wildfire Resources

The past few days have been extremely difficult for our community and the State of Oregon. We know some of you may live in affected areas and our thoughts are with you. Please take care of yourselves and your families. We are working with our partner organizations to provide current information and support.  

Information and Resources

See the following official sources for the most current information:  

*Sign-up for local emergency notifications  

Lane County Non-Emergency Call Center 

Residents who are affected by the McKenzie Fire are welcome to call Lane County’s non-emergency call center at 541-682-3977 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. After-hours calls will be transferred to the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency phone line. 

McKenzie Fire (aka Holiday Farm Fire) Updates and Evacuation Notices 

  • Lane County website (Click “evacuation information” for the most up-to-date locations and map.) 

Air Quality Updates and Information 

Water and Power Information 

City of Eugene Updates 

  • Parks 
    Because of the nearby McKenzie Fire and windy conditions, the City of Eugene Parks and Open Space Division has closed both the entire Ridgeline Park System as well as Skinner Butte Summit in downtown Eugene through Thursday morning. Hendricks Park is considered part of the Ridgeline Park System, so it will be closed as well. 
  • Library and Recreation 
    See the City website for daily updates about Library and Rec programs and facilities 

Road Conditions  

Additional Resources 

City Opens Clean Air Day Centers for Individuals with Respiratory Issues 

The City of Eugene is opening two community centers for individuals who have compromised respiratory systems and need respite from the wildfire smoke. Petersen Barn and Hilyard community centers will serve as daytime Clean Air Centers, opening today, Sept. 9. These centers will have limited capacity because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Appropriate safety precautions, including physical distancing and sanitation, will be taken to keep patrons and staff safe.  No showers, food or supplies are available at the Clean Air Day Centers but charging of electronic devices will be available. These day centers will remain open for the next two days and may be extended if needed. Please check the City’s website for daily updates. Also note anyone wishing to donate supplies should contact the Red Cross

Additionally, Lane County is opening a day center at the Lane Events Center. 

Eugene Locations 

  • Hilyard Community Center (2850 Hilyard St.) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Petersen Barn Community Center (870 Berntzen Rd.) 12-5 p.m. 
  • Lane Events Center (796 W. 13th Ave.) 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Willamalane Temporary Smoke and Fire Shelters 

Additionally, Willamalane has opened the following temporary rescue shelters for community members who have been evacuated or lost power.  

  • Bob Keefer Center, 250 S. 32nd St., Springfield 
  • Willamalane Adult Activity Center, 215 W. C St., Springfield  

These sites will have capacity limits, adhere to social distancing requirements and include other regular sanitation protocols as required with current health guidelines. Willamalane can’t offer showers right now, but that status may change as the situation progresses. Willamalane won’t be charging any fees for people to use its facilities for temporary shelter. The Bob Keefer Center parking lot is allowing RV parking. There are limited spaces available. 

Safety Tips 


  • Avoid the area: Do not approach the area as fire crews are working to respond. Unnecessary traffic can cause delays and confusion during the response. Respect any road closures. 
  • Follow the evacuation notices: If you are under an evacuation notice, please comply with requests made for Level 1 (Be Ready), Level 2 (Be Set) and Level 3 (Go Now).   


  • Stay indoors and keep windows and doors shut. 
  • Do not exercise outdoors. 
  • Be prepared for power loss by having flashlights, headlamps and candles available. 
  • If you have heart or lung disease or asthma, follow your healthcare provider’s advice. 

Driving During Heavy Smoke and Wildfires 

The Oregon Department of Transportation has shared the following tips as we may see additional smoky conditions in the weeks ahead. Remember to avoid driving in these conditions if at all possible. If you must drive, be alert, don’t drive distracted and remember you play a big part to help avoiding wildfires. 

Tips for safe driving if you encounter heavy smoke: 

  • Slow down and stay alert. Slow driving gives you more time to respond to unexpected conditions. 
  • Turn on your headlights. Even during daylight hours, your headlights will help others on the road see you. Use low-beams. High-beams reflect off the moisture in the air and cause glare. 
  • Use fog lights. If you have them, fog lights can help cut through the smoke. 
  • Check your entire route before setting out. Conditions may be very different at your destination. 
  • Find an alternate route. Fire is wildly unpredictable, especially in high winds. If at all possible, find a route that takes you away from fires. 
  • Keep plenty of space between you and other vehicles. Visibility, of course, decreases in smoke so maintain a safe stopping distance between you and the vehicle up front. 
  • If visibility becomes too dangerous to continue, pull off to the side of the road as soon as safely possible. 
  • Never stop in a travel lane. Look for a safe area completely off the road if possible and turn off all lights, including flashers, until it’s safe to continue. 
  • Don’t tailgate. Keep a steady, reliable pace. Remember that everyone else on the road is experiencing the same conditions. They’re counting on you to help show the way. 
  • Roll up the windows. Set your fan to recirculate. 
  • Have your car ready before you go. Make sure you have a full gas tank before leaving and your vehicle is in good condition. Have water, food, and medications with you – and for any pets you bring.

COVID-19 Information/Resources 

Practice the 4 Ws 

It’s up to all of us to do our part. Help protect yourself and others:  

  1. Wear a face covering – indoor and out, it’s a statewide requirement  
  2. Watch your distance – stay 6 feet apart from those outside your household  
  3. Wash your hands – often with soap and water for 20 seconds throughout the day  
  4. Wait it out – stay home if you are sick  

Answer the Call – Contact Tracing is Important to Stop the Spread  

If you get a call or voicemail from a Public Health contact tracer, please answer or return the call. Contact tracing is critical to our community’s ability to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19. People who participate in contact tracing are actively helping to keep their community safe by helping public health officials track the virus. For more information from Lane County Public Health on contact tracing please visit their contact tracing webpage. The State of Oregon’s contact tracing web page also offers useful information and resources. 

More Resources

See a list of Community Resources for physical and mental health, food, housing, businesses, employees, schools and children, as well as information in Spanish.

Also learn how you can help. Our partners have a significant amount of information available online. Please visit these resources for the most up to date information: 

Lane County Call Center: Open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 541-682-1380