The Row River Valley is located in South Central Lane County in the Western Cascade Foothills east of Cottage Grove. The 25-mile valley has a steep ‘chimney-like’ topography, is designated as a Wildland-Urban Interface community, and is classified as High and Extreme Risk for Fire.

 Importantly, this area does not have dedicated fire protection services and therefore is the highest community at risk for fire devastation in Lane County.  

The Lane County Fire District Map with the Row River Valley, east of Cottage Grove, circled in red.  This map highlights the fact that the Row River Valley is the most-populated unprotected community in Lane County, at as much or greater fire risk than even that of the Holiday Fire!

Currently, the nearest emergency fire response services are a minimum of 30-minutes from Cottage Grove, significantly exceeding The National Fire Safety Protection Association standard

for response times of 6 minutes. Lack of quick fire response places this entire community at risk:  an unincorporated rural Oregon community of 1250 residents, two southern Lane County schools, two churches, and over a quarter-million visitors at our County parks annually. 

Row River Fire Response, a 501c3 organization of community volunteers, is working to address this critical lack of service by the formation of a certified, organized fire department in public/private partnership with South Lane Fire and Rescue.  Our goal is to have fire response services in operation by ‘fire season’ (summer 2023).  Fire responders, fire engines, stations, and equipment will be positioned locally in the community for rapid deployment and response, thus improving safety and outcomes.  Once a main fire station is established, our goal is to have 

several ‘satellite’ fire/emergency response engines situated throughout the valley to minimize delay in response times:  a main station near Dorena, satellite stations on Row River Road near Rat Creek Road, a Shoreview Road location, and a location east near Laying/Upper Brice Creek– all locations in counsel with SLFR and other established districts and agencies for maximum effectiveness.

The Row River Fire Response Strategic Plan has 4 active programs:

  1. The creation of a Special Rural Fire Protection District, (SRFPD), for our community in partnership with State and County agencies. Goal to place on Lane County ballot, May 2024.
  2. Public/Private Fire Response Services in partnership with South Lane Fire and Rescue District as a stop-gap transitional service until the Special Rural Fire Protection District levy can support full operations.     
  3. Grant Funding programs to enhance resiliency, fire prevention, defensible space, fuel reduction and similar activities that reduce the occurrence of fire in the community. (multiple grant applications in progress).
  4. Evacuation and Safe Space planning in concert with Lane County Emergency Management for resiliency and public safety.

The Ultimate goal is the formation of a Special Rural Fire Protection District in accordance with ORS statutes,  ballot petition in 2024.     

We urgently need your financial support to establish this much-needed SLFR/RRFR public-private partnership Fire Response Service before this summer fire season. 

We are working closely with South Lane Fire and Rescue District; our stop-gap operations will be supported and administered as an auxiliary mutually cooperating unit of South Lane (see above).  Please consider donating to support response operations for this newly forming department—any amount is welcome and your donations directly support the safety and security of the entire Row River Valley.   All donations are tax deductible.

Visit to find out more about our efforts and please donate.  It’s quick, easy, and all donations are 100% dedicated to operational support—we are all unpaid volunteers

working for our community.  Click on the blue Donate Button to donate, or contact  You can also mail a donation to:

Row River Fire Response

PO Box 4

Dorena Oregon 97434.

Any amount will help us protect this great community and beautiful recreational area!!

Two other quick ways you can contribute:

  • Take the survey on  our web-site–this guides our decision process.
  • Get involved-volunteer or attend our next meeting (flyer is attached).

The Board of Row River Fire Response thanks you for your support.  Please email if you have comments or questions to:  We are willing to host a presentation to those who are interested.  Contact us to arrange a presentation at your convenience.

  And please forward this along to anyone you think would be interested in assuring fire safety to a high risk community in need!

The Board of Directors

by Walter Bernard, President

 Row River Fire Response

PO Box 4 

Dorena Oregon 97434


EIN:  88-4297067