Challenge,  News


WMG Publishing Evacuated Out of Lincoln City, Oregon…

Actually, all the employees did. And all of our writer friends also got out safely. But wow, what a mess it was there early this morning.

The New WMG Publishing offices are in a level 2 evacuation zone. And all employees homes are in the same zone. Seems last night the fire that started up in the valley going toward Portland grew immensely and came into the north side of Lincoln City. To what extent we don’t yet know. Massive rumors of all sorts of stuff.

No writers lived in that area, thankfully, but family of some of the WMG staff do. No idea what has happened to their homes. Fingers crossed. But all of them got out ahead of the flames, thankfully.

Numbers of writers were in the level 2 zone, and since all but one road in and out of town was closed, they pretty much all got out and headed down the coast. Some went into the valley with family, some are in hotels down the coast.

As for the professional writers who live in town, Stephanie Writt and Val Brooks headed south to Yahats. (Same hotel as Allyson from WMG.)

Dan Duval, fresh out of heart surgery, went south to his bookstore at first to get out of the smoke and be safe, then when it looked like the fire had stopped forward progress, he went back home with a bag packed and his cat ready to bail. But he lives right beside where they were bringing evacuees, so pretty safe. Plus recovering from heart surgery he was better at home as long as he could stay.

Sheldon MacArthur, the famous book dealer lives near Dan. He and his wife also stayed with bags near the front door and animals ready to go. He is a pro at this sort of thing, having to evacuate numbers of times when he lived down in Malibu.

Chris and Steve York went south from their place to the Inn At Spanish Head hotel, where Chris used to work. Maybe the safest place on all of the coast since it is a ten story concrete hotel built on a cliff face above the ocean with nothing to burn around it.

Writer Michael Kowel and his wife headed south and then into the valley.

All Kris and I could do was stay in touch with everyone as they scrambled under horrid condition to get to safety. Just flat scary worrying all morning for our friends, but nothing compared to what they went (and are going) through. Not even close.

And not sure when they will be letting people back into Lincoln City. Maybe Friday when the wind shifts to off the ocean.

Oregon, so far, has lost five towns almost completely. (Not counting the damage to the north side of Lincoln City.) When Kris and I lived outside of Eugene before moving to the coast, we were close to a small town called Vida. I guess it is now gone, from what the news has said. Very sad.

In my 70 years of living on the West Coast of this country, I have never seen anything like this. And this is a long ways from over for a lot of people, sadly.

Stay safe out there. Be smart.


  • Chong Go

    Wowww. It’s good to hear everyone is safe, but I’m just stunned that Lincoln City would have such fire issues. I was surprised to hear that so many of the old logging towns were suddenly getting hit, but I would never have guessed that places on the damp side would be in such trouble.

  • tony

    It’s not very much, I know, but hoping with all my strength that everyone is ok, stays ok and gets back to whatever this new normal will be. Also hoping they all have a place to go back to!

  • Kate Pavelle

    Thank you for the news, Dean. I’ve been thinking of the WMG team and the writers I know from the workshops. I’ve been following the Oregon situation in part because my cousin and her family moved up to Eugene from San Jose few years ago. Fortunately, they camp a lot and decided to invest into a small camper just few weeks ago so they can get out of town faster to make the most out of their family weekends. A camper is a serious asset for a family with kids and dogs, even if there is only one road out of town.
    Best wishes to all. I hope everyone will stay safe.

  • Bonnie

    Thanks for keeping people posted. Having lived in the PNW for 25 years in various places, it’s just so hard to wrap my mind around the places that are burning. Sending good thoughts to all-

  • Linda Niehoff

    Gosh I’m so sorry to hear this. Glad everyone is safe and OK, though. I can’t imagine how stressful this is for them and for you guys being far away. This is such a strange and heartbreaking time. Praying for the best for all.

  • Anthony St. Clair

    Thinking about the WMG team and all affected by the fires. We’re in Eugene, safe and sound, just smoky.

    Thankfully, after further eval in the area it’s sounding like communities like Vida and Walterville have so far been mostly spared, though some like Blue River have been destroyed. This morning fire officials are also saying it looks like the spread is slowing some as winds shift, plus more resources are getting on the ground. Here’s hoping.

  • John Lorentz

    Thanks, Dean. I’d been especially worried about Dan, since he was still recovering from the surgery. I’m glad to hear everyone’s OK so far.

  • Margaret

    My best wishes for the safety and health of the all WMG staff and their families and all others menaced by the fires.
    I feel like I know some of the staff from reading Dean’s blogs, although we have never met.
    May rain come and put out the fires quickly and may the damage done by the fires be less than expected.

  • ceeteefeebs

    These super-charged fires- every year now, increasingly devastating- are breaking my soul. One year it’s large swaths of BC. Another year, it’s the entire Malibu Mountains, from the 101 all the way to the coast. The next year it’s the Columbia River Gorge. The one time I got to make it out to Yosemite, the valley was so choked with smoke from the sequoias burning a hundred miles away that I could barely make out El Capitan. All of these beautiful places, scarred and battered and in some cases incinerated and completely gone, never to be seen again in our lifetimes… it is soul-crushing. Especially when you realize that next year it will be more of the same, and maybe worse, and no one seems to be doing anything to help slow down the cause of it all, and nitwits keep sparking fires with their fireworks and barbecues and “gender reveal pyrotechnics.” My heart goes out to every single person who has suffered from the fires, as well as to all the animals. If there is anything we can do for anyone in the WMG crew (or among their loved ones), please let us know, Dean.