Historic church lost in Riverside Fire starts the rebuilding process

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 9:37 PM PDT
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CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) - It’s been nearly two years since the Riverside Fire blew through the town of Dodge just south of Estacada, and now the heart of the community, its church, is beginning to rebuild.

The Dodge Community Church was one of the hundreds of buildings lost in the fire. Kathy Boden, a community member of Dodge, also lost one of her houses on her property. She’s been rebuilding what she’s lost, including her church.

“It’s been a real struggle for everybody, emotionally, monetarily, but losing the church -- it was a shock,” Boden said.

Boden explained rebuilding the Dodge Community Church is rebuilding a place where the community can gather and make memories.

“People will be able to have events here, like things they had before,” Boden said. “There were people who had weddings here. There were funerals here. It was a place for people to come to.”

The new church will sit nearly on the exact same spot the old church stood when it was built back in 1947. The groundbreaking was Sunday and the community of Dodge returned to celebrate and worship. Tony Skoien is a Deacon for the Dodge Community Church. He said it was great to see his neighbors come out for the groundbreaking.

“We’re quite excited to see what the Lord has in mind for us here,” Skoien said.

Skoien said the church’s insurance will cover about $266,000 of the rebuilding cost and $150,000 is covered by donations. Many of those donations have come from other churches across the Pacific Northwest.

“That was really encouraging to see that because that’s when the church shines and comes on its own,” Skoien said.

But he said the congregation still needs to raise about $300,000 more dollars to cover the rest. Regardless of how much work still needs to be done, there’s hope doors will open for the Christmas service.

“Even though we lost our building, the building is not the church,” Skoien said. “The people are the church, the building is where we meet.”

“It’s all in God’s hands,” Boden said. “It’s God’s timing and he’s the one that’s going to make it happen.”

If you would like to donate money to the rebuilding effort, you can drop money off or mail checks to the church’s address at 27272 S Hillockburn Rd. Estacada, OR 97023.