Homes are now springing up in Weed as the recovery takes hold. Nearly 40 nonprofit groups are expected to help with rebuilding. Photo: Virginia Becker, American Red Cross volunteer. Building photo: Cindy Cheffey.
Volume XV | Issue 1 | Spring 2015
Cover Story

Weed fire: Recovery begins after a disaster

On the morning of Sept. 15, 2014, people in the northern California community of Weed were enjoying a sunny fall day. Children were settling into their week at school. The Weed Community Center’s gym was echoing with the sound of teen-agers attending a countywide Athlete Committed event. And then everything changed.

At about 1:30 p.m., one of the student athletes pointed out the window to the astonishing sight of a fire burning its way toward the building. Pushed by high winds, the Boles Fire quickly spread to more than 200 acres. By 6 p.m., stunned townspeople were taking stock of everything they had lost: 157 homes and eight commercial properties completely destroyed, and many more structures damaged. 

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Community Vitality is published twice a year (in a printed format and online) for community leaders by The Ford Family Foundation.

Anne Kubisch, President; Nora Vitz Harrison, Editor; Megan Monson, Assistant Editor

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Superimposed over a scene of destruction, a photo of a new house rises from the ashes.

Weed fire: Recovery begins after a disaster

Everything changed for Weed, Calif., on Sept. 15, 2014. A fire, pushed by high winds, spread to more than 200 acres. By 6 p.m., stunned townspeople were taking stock of everything they had lost: 157...  Read More

Two firefighters, one on a walkie-talkie, converse. "Ventura City Fire" is emblazoned on the back of one.

The community mobilized to help

Like more than half the town’s residents, the Rubio family lost their home and everything in it to the Boles Fire. “… it makes me cry every time I think back on this day,” says Jennifer Rubio.  Read More

Each disaster brings its own lessons

Donate money, not stuff, is just one of the suggestions from the experts. For those who have clothes or goods, sell them in a yard sale and give the proceeds to a relief fund.  Read More

Boles Fire claims lives of family pets

More than 100 pets died in the blaze.  Read More

A long-term focus and effort

The Foundation is launching a new program for community and economic development. Initial grants will range from $5,000 to $150,000, and capital grants could be larger.  Read More

An artistic community

Hallie Ford Fellow David Eckard makes a plan for his future — one that includes other artists and friends.  Read More

Study examines effects of Scholarship Programs

When Jeff Strickland started college at Southern Oregon University in 2000, he wasn’t a typical student. Forty-three years old, he was parenting two daughters and working full time.  Read More

Roque Barros sits in a high-back chair and gestures with a pen.

'building relationships'

Two weeks after starting his job, the new director of the Ford Institute for Community Building is a busy man. Roque Barros is a nonprofit executive with nearly 30 years experience in civic...  Read More

Maria Quiroz, in a surgical gown, mask and gloves, works on an anesthetized cat.

From puppy raiser to veterinarian

A life-long dream becomes real for Ford Family scholarship recipient Maria Quiroz when she graduates this spring from Oregon State University’s School of Veterinary Science.  Read More

How one Oregon town got its fish back

Residents of Port Orford, a fishing town, should have been swimming an endless supply of fresh fish. But they weren't.  Read More

Cover of the book The Resilience Dividend showing an area devastated by a hurricane.

Catastrophic challenges

Author Judith Rodin makes a case for why being able to bounce back is an urgent social and economic issue.  Read More

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