City of Talent Oregon / NewsIn Remembrance of the Almeda Fire, 1 Year Later
by Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood
In reflection of the tragedy that befell Talent on September 8th 2020, and with a hopeful eye cast on our tomorrow, there is so much mixed emotions in Talent. Emotions from those who have shared their stories of recovery and of ongoing struggle, all around the Almeda Fire anniversary. There are so many stories, all different and also in common.
Sometimes, the grief about the tremendous loss in Talent, can make it difficult to reconcile what we have been through and what we are still going through. I know speaking from my own experience, losing the home where we raised our children, missing my neighbors with all my heart, those close to our family, those we have shared history with; it is just so personal and remains extraordinarily painful. But it doesn't even compare to those Talent loved one’s who are still asunder. Many of whom have lost everything and are now losing hope. We must not ever lose sight of them, they still need us, this is still their home, they are our people.
Even as we grieve, there is so much to look forward to and to be truly grateful for. Because of FEMA and the State, we are getting resources to help us rebuild, and sustain our services. The County has supported us with the cleanup and organizing local efforts that has sped our recovery. Talent Urban Renewal Agency will provide transitional housing and long-term affordable housing, for those folks who have fallen through the cracks but still belong to our community. The non-profits and grass roots organizations continue to provide mutual aide and basic supports for those in the most need. The city staff and our city council have their shoulders to the wheel, still providing safety and service, as we find our new way forward. We will make Talent stronger than before, so that our families can come home if they choose.
I wish everyone well during this time. I wish our community ease as we reflect and remember. I wish our business community more support and resilience. I wish the staff and the council strength to keep pushing ahead. Most of all, I wish those neighbors and loved one’s who still need a housing solution, faith and comfort on their long journey back home.
(originally posted on September 7th, 2021, and used with permission from Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood)