Long process of long term recovery initiated with a passion

TONASKET - A long term recovery organization has been initiated for the Okanogan Complex and North Star fires, with the...

Hope of combining  recovery efforts with Carlton Complex group

TONASKET – A long term recovery organization has been initiated for the Okanogan Complex and North Star fires, with the hopes the group will be able to fall under the umbrella of the Carlton Complex Long Term Recovery Group (CCLTRG).

Roni Holder-Diefenbach of the Okanogan County Economic Alliance answered several questions for community members at Tonasket City Hall Monday, Aug. 31. Next to Diefenbach is Melissa Carpenter, Eastern Washington Representative from the Governor's office. Katie Teachout/staff photo.
Roni Holder-Diefenbach of the Okanogan County Economic Alliance answered several questions for community members at Tonasket City Hall Monday, Aug. 31. Next to Diefenbach is Melissa Carpenter, Eastern Washington Representative from the Governor’s office. Katie Teachout/staff photo.

“Last Thursday we met with the CCLTRG chair and executive director, and they have to go back to their own board and get it approved to expand into or accept the Okanogan Complex and North Star Fire communities,” said Economic Alliance Executive Director Roni Holder-Diefenbach. “In the meantime, they said these are the things you need to do within each school district. Patrick (Plumb) jumped on it and got a head start, which is good because the fires aren’t out yet but we are already looking at long-term recovery.”

“Winter is coming fast and there are a lot of people without homes,” Plumb said to members of the community filling all available chairs in the Tonasket City Hall Chambers Monday, Aug. 31 for the first meeting to begin the process of long term recovery.

Several sub-committees were formed, with a chair appointed to each. Community members who have an interest in any of the following are encouraged to contact Plumb, who can refer people to the sub-committee chair: Housing, Economic Growth, Unmet Need, Distribution, Infrastructure, Agriculture (large), Agriculture (small), Safety/Health, Fire Districts, Survivor Liaison, Mental Health, Retention of Current Businesses, Off Grid/Homesteaders, Oroville School District, Tonasket School District, Public Relations/Communications and Migrant Community.

Sub-committee members will communicate with members of the community, and then report back to the chair with the information they gathered.

“Basically we want each of these committees to go out and talk to people and the business community; to do outreach to the groups they are working with,” Diefenbach said. “We want the committees to be self-sufficient and have an impact in their own community.”

Besides getting input from community members impacted by the natural disaster, committees will be responsible for finding out what resources are available, so they can relay that information to the groups they are working with.

Diefenbach said the goal of having the CCLTRG be the umbrella organization made sense because of their experience, and the fact they are already established.

“They went through a lot of struggles over the last year, including getting their 501 (c) 3 status and going to the legislature for funding. They found it was easier to get funding working together as a group.”

“I am so proud of what we are getting going here, and I think we need to applaud everyone that showed up tonight,” said Plumb after the Monday evening’s meeting, expressing gratitude to the Governor’s office for sending out Melissa Carpenter, the Governor’s Eastern Washington Representative; and to Diefenbach for coming and answering a lot of people’s questions.

“It was a great meeting. Everybody was jumping up and ready to help, and really asked a lot of great questions,” Diefenbach said. “The group is wanting to get better prepared to prevent trials like this during the next natural disaster. They are already looking towards next year’s fire season, so we aren’t scrambling; but responding in a well-prepared way. I am excited about the North County community and their passion for working through this.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Stories