Rural Community Emergency Response

March 27, 2014

Dear ROPnetters,

As the aftermath of the deadly mudslide in Oso, Washington unfold, rural emergency response is topic of many conversations happening across the country. Human dignity organizers in Cottage Grove are mulling that same topic since February after responding to the aftermath of the worst ice storm in Lane County history that left thousands without power for over a week and many of the most isolated families in the County without the means of leaving their properties for food, water, and supplies.

What I thought was a brief visit with my family in Cottage Grove turned into a week-long adventure in figuring out an all-volunteer emergency response. The experience left me and others in my community wondering: what role does emergency response play in our movement for human dignity? Do you and your human dignity group know what you would do in an emergency?

I don’t have the answers, but I do know that when crisis struck close to home, I had other human dignity leaders in Cottage Grove to learn alongside and experiment with as neighbors tried to take care of neighbors on the fly. We strategically leveraged power to make county-wide shifts and two months later, our core team of 8 dedicated folks are figuring out how we can prepare ourselves to do better next time — because there will be a next time. Read more below!

It has been an honor to organize alongside such incredible folks! Thank you, Cristina, Spenser, Melinda, Kevin, Bedo, Steve, Ivan, Trish, Jimmy, Janetta, and the dozens of others who pitched in and made things happen! You all inspire me with your brilliance, generosity, and spirit of justice!
Is emergency response or disaster planning something your group or community are discussing? I’d love to hear all about it! Send me an email at and let’s chat!