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August 31, 2015
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – A public auction to raise money for area residents affected by wildfires is set for 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5 in the Gilbert Center at Eastern Oregon University.
Valerie Purnell-Kandle, of Elgin, is organizing the fundraiser with help from Chris Cronin, regional director for EOU’s Grant County Center in John Day, and Dixie Lund, retired interim EOU president and current governing board trustee.
Funds raised will benefit all eastern Oregon fire victims who have lost their homes and livelihoods, particularly those in Grant, Baker and Wallowa counties.
Purnell-Kandle grew up in the John Day area and personally knows about half of the families impacted by the Canyon Creek Complex that has destroyed 43 residences and consumed 101,465 acres since August 12.
“There’s been a tremendous outpouring of support for Grant County,” Purnell-Kandle said, “but families in Troy and other areas need help too, and unfortunately not all of them are getting it.”
At least five residences have been reported lost in Troy where the Grizzly Bear Complex is burning over 74,000 acres. Progress was made over the weekend near Medical Springs, where the Eagle Complex is now 60-percent contained at 12,504 acres.
Purnell-Kandle attended EOU and is a former university employee. By holding the auction in La Grande, she hopes to engage more organizations and individuals in the relief efforts for these communities. Approximately 75 businesses have already contributed specific items or gift cards, and the university is donating use of the Gilbert Center.
The live auction starts at 6 p.m. and a silent auction will be ongoing throughout the event.
Tax-deductible cash donations are also being accepted by Emergency Equipment Solutions (EES) in Burns. Call Jeffrey Cotton with EES at 541-573-6139 or Purnell-Kandle at 541-663-6050 for more information on how to donate.
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