Thousands of Oregonians were evacuated from their homes because of wildfires earlier this month. For people with disabilities, evacuating required additional time and notice that wasn’t always possible with the rapidly spreading fires. That means that evacuating created additional stressors, and for some, disruptions in disability services they rely on. Ross Ryan is a community advocate for Oregon Self Advocacy Coalition. And Dennis Weirich is the board president and CEO of the Blanche Fischer Foundation, a private nonprofit that makes grants on behalf of people with physical disabilities. They were both evacuated from their homes during the wildfires. They tell us how they and others with disabilities were affected.
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