Hood River County

Sheriff's Office

Emergency Management

Hood River County Emergency Management prepares for, coordinates response and logistical support, mitigation and community recovery for natural and man-made disasters and large scale emergencies.

2018 Hood River County Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan

We know disasters will come to Hood River County…the only question is when.

How will we prepare for the inevitable? How can we reduce our risks as a community?

In 2018, Hood River County Emergency Management managed the update of our County's Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan This plan outlines community risk for natural hazards and potential actions the County can take to reduce risks to people, property and the local economy BEFORE the next wildfire, winter storm, flood or earthquake.

A panel of experts from across agencies - Cities, Ports, Counties, Intertribal, regional coalitions, state and federal agencies, weighed in. Different viewpoints were addressed by stakeholders from a variety of industries and sectors on the Steering Committee (health services, City and County planning, forestry, firefighting, emergency response, business and economic development, social service agencies, infrasturucture and utilities.) The public got involved.

The 2018 NHMP was adopted by Hood River County Board of Commissioners and the City Councils of Cascade Locks and Hood River and Hood River Port in fall 2018. Here is the FEMA  letter of approval for the 2018 Hood River County and Cities of Cascade Locks and Hood River Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan

This project was made possible by a FEMA grant administered through DLCD (Department of Land Conservation and Development) and was written by staff and students from RARE, the Rural Assistance Program at University of Oregon. We also partnered with other Counties in rural Oregon (Wasco and Gilliam,) to leverage grant resources and RARE expertise to full advantage.

Cascadia subduction earthquake - "The Big One"

"When, not if, the magnitude 9.0 quake strikes - let alone the accompanying tsunami, Oregon will face the greatest challenge in its history" - Oregon Earthquake Commission.

Geologists calculate the odds of "The Big One" (7.0 to 9.0 magnitude Cascadia quake off the Pac NW coast) occuring in the next 50 years at roughly one in three. Four decades ago, no one even knew this risk existed. Although the quake and related impacts would likely be focused on the coast and I-5 cooridor, Hood River and counties across the Pacific Northwest would suffer significant impacts.
Cascadia Subduction - Big One 2017 presentations:  ALTHEA RIZZO, Ph.D from OR Office of Emergency Management and BARB AYERS, Hood River Emergency Manager.
CHECK YOUR HOME'S QUAKE and LANDSLIDE RISK on the State's interactive website.
Hood River County Emergency Management VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION TO CASCADIA earthquakes.
Let's get prepared for The Big One and we'll be ready for other, smaller emergencies that come our way.
Get Ready Gorge

Disaster preparedness

Quick Tips 2018 - fall preparedness

What's in your kit - a visual guide (no words needed!) 

WINTER SEASON and WILDFIRE TIPS: what's in your car emergency kit - and evacuation list

HERE'S A LINK TO OUR TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE PLANNING PAGE 2017  with six pages of things you need to know and how to prepare for the heat of summer, a mass influx of visitors and fire season.

Eagle Creek Fire September 2017

It was the #1 fire in the County in fall 2017 - not in a good way. 50,000 acres of pristine USFS land burned in the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area for three months, threatening homes, infrasustructure and businesses in Hood River and Multnomah Counties.

(Photo above: Eagle Creek hikers are reunited in the 2017 wildfire incident. Photo: Kirby Neumman-Rae, Hood River News)

It started Labor Day weekend. The first mission: rescue 157 day hikers safely from the Eagle Creek Trail as the fire blew up around them. Next, the Cities of Cascade Locks and Corbett were evacuated for weeks. I-84 closed for weeks as firefighters, Hood River Sheriff's Office and Unified Commanders tackled the beast.

LESSONS LEARNED IN THE EAGLE CREEK WILDIFRE - OEMA  (Oregon Emergency Managers Association) 2018  Conference presentation

In this OEMA panel discussion, Hood River Sheriff Matt English, Hood River County Emergency Manager Barb Ayers, and Chief Deputy State Fire Marshall Maria Ruiz-Temple teamed up to share three different perspectives on this challenging wildfire.

Sheriff English addressed challenges of Incident Command, communications and evacuations.

Ayers shared EOC lessons learned, from this long term activation.

Ruiz-Temple spoke about the leveraging of resources that occured in the fire response to this incident - local, county, state and federal first responders.

After the Fire- EOC power point is here

Hood River County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management opened the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for 18 days, September 2-20, 2017 during the Eagle Creek Fire, 12 hours per day, to help our community. Our mission: Do the Greatest Good for the Greatest Ammount of People

The EOC effort was only possible with the cooperation and collaboration of our community, businesses, volunteers and partner agencies. The need for the EOC arose virtually overnight and helped demonstrate, in real time, the partnerships we have built together.

Many thanks go to our partners, staff and hard-working volunteers that dropped everything and came in to help.

The EOC team created one of the State's first Evacuation Plans, supported shelter needs, navigated rapidly changing hazards, opened a Joint Information Center with local, regional and state response agencies, and opened a public call center to offer hourly and daily updates, maps and information to residents and businesses in Spanish and English.

We can not thank enough, community members and businesses that stepped up to help, in so many ways. This is the wonderful outcome that arose from the ashes of this incident. That, and thankfully, no lives were lost and only a handful of homes. Sadly, our magnificent forest bore the brunt of this crisis.

The first phase of Emergency Managment is PREPAREDNESS - the last phase is RECOVERY.

State and Federal recovery assistance was available from fall 2017 to July 31, 2018 - Hood River Emergency Management was successful in bringining in economic injury disaster loans for local businesses, offering up to 30 year loans with incredibly low interest (2.5%) to help locals recoup lost revenue.  

This was the second time in 2017 that we were able to bring the SBA economic injury business loan program here (also winter storm 2017.) Hood River led the state in highest number of businesses interested in this recovery program, and that also helped neighboring counties get the program activated as well.

Hood River County Emergency Management continues to pursue state and federal grants to help increase our community's resillience and address gaps in our readiness identified in this incident:

  • HMGP (State Hazards Mitigation grants) for Evacuation/Sheler Planning and EAS (Emergency Alert System)
  • Three regional Homeland Security grants to update our Community Wildfire Protection Plan, create evacuation templates and add backup communications in regional requests with our partner counties. 
  • State SPIRE equipment grants for community emergency cache supplies and satelitte communications (regional project with multiple counties statewide.)

Earthquakes, wildfires, winter storms, landslides and flooding. They can happen at any time.

Click here for our GET READY GORGE 8-page family emergency info guide.

Click on the Get READY Gorge photo to download the guide:

Hood River Emergency Management created this in depth guide to help YOU and YOUR FAMILY prepare for emergencies and disasters.

Emergency Planning and Preparedness

Barbara Ayers
HRC Emergency Manager

541 386-1213 541 386-1213

Hood River County Emergency Management is a regional resource - we partner with Cities, Counties, Fire Departments, 911, schools, medical, health and other first response agencies Gorge-wide, to prepare our region for large scale emergencies and disasters. We are staffed by trained volunteers and partner staffs that are not responding to the incident.

The Hood River County EOC (Emergency Operations Center) activates in large scale emergencies and disasters, to help the community and augment first responders.

Below is an image from a day in the EOC during the Eagle Creek Fire. Three additional units were also activated by the EOC - a Joint Information Center, Public Call Center and we supported Incident Command (field response) with EOC Operations/Evacuation and Shelter Planning. 

We are the direct link to partner with, and access additional regional, state and federal support.

We manage grants, disaster planning and programs that enhance our county's readiness and response. We help citizens and businesses prepare for emergencies and disasters.

We successfully competed for a national grant to host a community emergency management training, IEMC (Integrated Emergency Management Course) - Hood River specific - in December 2016:

We learned a lot in this four day course, attended by 96 leaders. CLICK HERE to download our After Action Report/Improvement Plan. We are dedicated to continuous improvement!

Citizens and businesses are encouraged to be self-sufficient for up to 3 weeks, should an emergency or disaster occur.

We are here for you - and we also appreciate you doing your part to prepare your family for emergencies.