Up in the mountains of Oregon, life is a far cry from the coffeehouses and artsy milieu of one of it’s most famous cities, Portland.
In parts of the state that were ravaged by the Bootleg Fire in 2021, many residents don’t have physical addresses, they generate their own electricity, and even bring in their own supply of water. Resident Valerie Bowen says that “I haul my water in, I’ve been hauling it in for all my animals and my garden and myself for all these years.”
But, because communities like Valerie’s are off-the-grid, they fall short on being able to qualify for more traditional forms of aid after disaster. Tzu Chi Portland volunteer Michelle Liang explains that because “they don’t have a really physical address, also, they don’t have building codes – that’s the reason the government, like FEMA, cannot help.” However, she affirms that “when there’s a challenge, Tzu Chi is here.”
This year, Tzu Chi volunteers held a distribution for 60 families to receive 60 water tanks, each holding 275 gallons of water. Care recipient Jeff Whitted says that with his new water tank, “I’ll have water all winter.”
Meet the vibrant residents of this remote community and the compassionate Tzu Chi volunteers dedicated to accompanying them on their recovery journey.
Director & Editor: Daniel Ferrara
Director of Photography: Sarah Rattay-Maloney
Colorist: Stephen Derluguian
Bolster our resources to help families experiencing disaster.