OREGON HOUSE, Calif. February 23, 2017 – Oroville reservoir exceeded its capacity the weekend of February 12th, 2017, sending water and debris into an emergency spillway for the first time in the history of the dam. More than 180,000 people were under emergency evacuation orders.
The Alcouffe Community Center at 9185 Marysville Rd. in Oregon House was designated as an evacuation facility Sunday February 12th at around 6pm with the capacity to house 120 individuals. By 7pm, an hour later, the centers Board of directors and volunteer staff were ready to accept evacuees. We have never seen a community pull together in a time of need as this foothill community did for this emergency since the flood of 1997 .
A tribe of volunteers poured from the woods with cots and food, baby diapers and blankets. The outpouring of support was incredible. After receiving a call from Emerald Oaks care facility for assistance with 45 patients, we unloaded a bus full of Emerald Oak residents accompanied by their Director, an RN nurse and four staff members at 4am Monday morning, and had them settled in before sunrise.
Vollie of Emerald Oaks, celebrated her 100th birthday at the center on Feb. 14, 2017 and some of our volunteers presented her a small bouquet of flowers with a birthday card and slice of birthday cake with a candle and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her. She was delighted, sat up on her cot and enjoyed her cake before we could even return with a fork.
Our all volunteer staff worked thru the night securing food and supplies to support the flow of evacuees arriving from the valley. A total of 197 people checked into the Alcouffe Center over the four day period. A Facebook request for diapers at 3am in the morning produced 2 boxs of mixed size diapers in under an hour. Donations arrived from local businesses and charities, Browns Valley One Stop station and Deli and the Cafe Collage located in Oregon House provided support with food, cleaning supplies and kitchen staff.
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The Dobbins/Oregon House Fire Auxiliary Thrift Store helped out with a donation of blankets, spare kids clothes and volunteers. The local VFW provided a car load of care packages similar to the ones they send our vets with a hand knit stocking cap, tooth brush, toothpaste and a dozen other items included in each box.
An immediate response from the Yuba County OES (office of emergency services) provided us with 80 additional cots, including blankets, linen sets and pillows shortly after the center activated. Emergency Services also provided this facility with essential supplies and additional food. Live updates regarding the situation and road closures provided by OES’s onsite representative helped to ease our guests concerns.
We were able to accommodate every single person who arrived and kept them informed due to OES’s efforts. A big Shout Out to the Yuba County Office of Emergency Services, volunteers and our local businesses and charities. The Dobbins/Oregon House Fire Protection District, the Yuba County Sheriff’s office and the California Highway Patrol were also on hand and very supportive for the duration.
The directors at Alcouffe Center would like to thank their community for the fantastic support we received. We are so proud to be a part of a community that can pull together like this in a time of need. We had no issues providing our services the 4 days we remained open. So much support flowed in, the center was able to provide hot meals and shower facilities for dozens of other evacuees from the three camp resorts in the area, Lake Frances, Collins Lake and Thousand Trails, who all allowed the public to park their RVs, or camp on their sites, free of charge. Our hearts at the Alcouffe Center have been overwhelmed with joy. Thank also to the Yuba/Sutter Food Bank and the Foothill Food Pantry for all your support.
More than 100,000 residents south of the dam remained under evacuation advisory and should be prepared to flee to higher ground should the dam overflow again. If this occurs, or any other emergency in the future should bring our facility online again, the Alcouffe Community center will always be ready to energize our network for this community.