Community helps Lowes find a home

Mother and two sons continue to move on after Nov. 3 fire

Stefanie Lowe and her two sons, Ryan and Matthew, moved out of the motel room they’d been living in for several weeks and into a condominium last week. Thanks to an outpouring of community support for the family, whose rented house burned down in early November, Lowe was able to make the necessary rent and deposit payments for a condominium on Wasco Street in Hood River.

Nearly all the money raised came from community donations to a bank account in Lowe’s name set up at U.S. Bank by Hood River resident Janet Davis.

The Lowes had been living at the Meredith Motel since their rented house on Dee Highway burned down the morning of Nov. 3. Authorities said the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction. Lowe and her two sons escaped with only the pajamas they were wearing.

“I told her, ‘You go find a place and we’ll make sure you have money to pay for it,’” Davis said. “This community has come together in an incredible way. I knew it would.”

Lowe is glad to have a more permanent home for her kids, but says it “still feels a little funny.”

“It’s a new place,” she said. “It feels like you’re in somebody else’s home.” She’s also getting used to the traffic on I-84 — a big change from the quiet of the Upper Valley.

“But I tell you what, we wouldn’t even have this place if it wasn’t for this community,” she said. Support for the Lowes has poured in from organized groups, local stores, restaurants, churches, schools and individuals. In addition to monetary donations, gifts of clothing, furniture and household appliances have helped to replace things the Lowes lost in the fire.

“We’re still getting used to our new belongings,” Lowe said. “I appreciate everything everyone has given us.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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