After clearing 30,000 trees, crews reopen Highway 22 following wildfires

A sign along Highway 22 thanks firefighters on Sunday, September 20. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Oregon Highway 22 reopened to thru traffic Tuesday night more than a month after wildfire swept through the Santiam Canyon, leaving roads strewn with trees and debris.

Crews with the Oregon Department of Transportation cleared an estimated 30,000 hazardous trees that were dead or dying and likely to fall onto the highway, according to a news release.

The speed limit is reduced to 40 MPH from milepost 33 at Gates to milepost 63 at Pamelia Road. State crews, utility companies and others are continuing to work along the highway and drivers should expect delays.

In other wildfire recovery news, the Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund, set up by Santiam Hospital, has now raised $1.7 million toward a $5 million goal to help with long-term wildfire rebuilding and recovery.

The hospital said in a news release the fund will allow them to operate two resource centers for people affected by the canyon fires. Anthony Hall Wildfire Resource Center, 11758 Sublimity Road in Sublimity is open Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Gates Community Church Resource Center, 40070 Gates School Road, is open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those centers have donated items and volunteers who can connect families with other help as they work to rebuild.

Lunch and dinner will also be served daily at the Gates site, according to a news release from the hospital.

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Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.