A ‘Bike Brigade’ is delivering supplies to people stuck inside southern Oregon fire zones

A ‘Bike Brigade’ is delivering supplies to people stuck inside southern Oregon fire zones

Bike Brigade en route.
(Photo: Donnie Maclurcan)

Several towns in southern Oregon have been devastated by wildfire. Among the ashes, people are coming together to support one another.

E-cargo bike turned into a water supply truck.

Today I heard about the Ashland Bike Brigade, a group of people who are using their bikes to deliver supplies to victims of the Almeda Fire who’ve stayed in their homes despite evacuation orders.

Here’s the story from Jefferson Public Radio:

Roadblocks are keeping cars out of evacuation zones near the Almeda Fire in Jackson County, but cyclists can still get in. So a group of cyclists is delivering resources to people stranded in their homes.

It didn’t matter that the skies were filling with smoke for this group of cyclists in Ashland, because they had a mission: to bring food and water to people in Talent and Phoenix who are running low.

Local officials aren’t allowing any cars into those nearby towns, even residents, because of gas leaks and downed power lines. The Almeda Fire first started in Ashland on Tuesday, but strong winds pushed it north where it destroyed hundreds of homes in nearby communities. Many people are still living there and they don’t have electricity or potable water.


(Photo: Andre Carvalhaes)

According to JPR, about 100 people have stepped up to volunteer with the brigade. There’s a Google Spreadsheet where they post their contact info, what type of help they can offer, and when they’re available to make deliveries.

Bike Brigade volunteer Donnie Maclurcan posted yesterday on Facebook that they delivered over 50 gallons of water by bike to stranded residents of Talent. “Some of the people we encountered were in a bad way, dehydrated and in desperate need of connection and hope.” In addition to water and food they also snapped photos of properties to share with evacuees who had no way of knowing if their homes survived.

Sarah Davidson-Homewood with Bravo Outings, an Ashland-based transportation and tour company, says she’s partnered with the group to help with supply distribution and communication.

The effort reminds me of the Disaster Relief Trials, an event that demonstrated the value of cargo bikes to take care of our community during emergencies.

It’s amazing and inspiring to see these principles being put to use in a real-life disaster.

For more on the Ashland Bike Brigade, see the story from Jefferson Public Radio.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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