Incarcerated individuals at Larch Corrections Center are settling into temporary housing after being evacuated Sunday from the minimum security facility, near Yacolt, due to the growing Nakia Creek Fire.
Max, who spoke with The Columbian on Monday, said her friend, who’s housed at Larch, was able to call her and his mom later that day.
“He was in much better spirits. I felt, honestly, way relieved,” said Max, who wished to only be identified by her first name.
Her friend reportedly told her that corrections workers transported everyone on school buses to another minimum security facility in Southwest Washington. The convoy was accompanied by dozens of state vehicles and marshals, the friend said.
While the Washington Department of Corrections is restricting information to the general public about where Larch inmates are being housed, the agency is sharing that information with families, said Rachel Ericson, deputy communications director. Ericson said corrections has also been sharing all information relayed to incarcerated individuals with their families.
Nakia Creek Fire
About 230 prisoners were housed at Larch in September. The number of evacuees was not disclosed.
Ericson encouraged family members who are not getting that information to sign up to receive emails by reaching out to Larch’s Local Family Council.
Max’s friend said after he arrived at the new facility, he was assigned to a bed in a large room with bunks, in fours, separated by cubicle walls, similar to the setup at Larch. Pizza was delivered for dinner, he reportedly told Max.
Max said he was allowed to bring his toothbrush, soap, medications and pillowcase with him. He was told he could put in an order to the commissary for next week’s delivery, but he was hesitant, Max said, because he’s unsure if he will still be there in a week.
The DOC previously said it’s unknown when people will be able to return to Larch; it will be dependent on the fire’s containment.