By Laura Swanson
The reopening of Moxie in downtown Manzanita this past week, one of the last businesses to return after October’s tornado, marks the wrap-up for Manzanita Tornado Relief efforts. From the first moments following that infamous day when a tornado cut a 700’ wide swath for nearly a mile through Manzanita on Friday October 14, 2016 to today, over nine months later, the community response and resiliency remains one of the many bright spots. As the Pioneer’s LeeAnn Neal said in one of her last articles, “If you are unlucky enough to have a tornado hit your town, hopefully your town is Manzanita.”
Within a few days of the tornado, an ad hoc Manzanita Tornado Relief Committee was formed under the fiscal umbrella of Fulcrum Community Resources, for the purpose of providing financial relief to tornado victims. Two FCR board members and several local residents comprised the group which had the responsibility for oversight and dispersal of funds. From multiple fundraisers, t-shirt sales, and donations, Fulcrum’s Manzanita Tornado Relief received nearly $40,000 from hundreds donors. Nearly 30 businesses and homeowners where provided with cash relief for uncovered losses from the tornado. The final balance of $182.90 was donated to the Nehalem Bay Emergency Volunteer Corp.
In addition, more than $31,000 of donations were made through individual GoFundMe and other sources (including $1,000 donated by GoFundMe itself). In total, over $72,000 was raised, demonstrating the love of so many for the community. The CIty of Manzanita sent PUD $1000 in gratitude for their efficiency in restoring electricity.
On that date last year Manzanita’s landscape was dramatically changed by loss of trees and buildings in the pathway of the 2-minute tornado. What was not changed, but was demonstrated over and over again, was the preparedness and caring of community members for each other. Many people stepped up in many ways to help their friends, neighbors, and just anyone with recovering from this staggering, unexpected weather event. Manzanita’s landscape was forever changed by the tornado, but it has become a sign of how this community takes care of it’s members. The community replanted almost 200 trees the day after Thanksgiving, in Thanks for all the wonderful Giving by everyone.
Kudos to all – and special recognition to the Nehalem Bay Emergency Volunteer Corp as they continue their preparedness efforts to help our community “in case of ANY emergency.”