Karma/Bitch: Denialist Legislator’s House Burns in Climate Fueled Inferno

September 15, 2020

I don’t take pleasure in someone else’s pain, but damn it people..


Oregon Republican state senator Fred Girod was one of 11 Republicans who made headlines when they walked out of the senate – some even leaving the state – so that a quorum could not be achieved for a climate change bill.

As Wikipedia states:

“From June 20, 2019, all 11 Republican state senators for Oregon, including Girod, refused to show up for work at the Oregon State Capitol, instead going into hiding, some even fleeing the state. Their aim was to push the vote on a cap-and-trade proposal that would dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to combat climate change to voters instead of being instituted by lawmakers. The Senate holds 30 seats, but 1 is vacant due to a death. Without the Republican senators, the remaining 18 Democratic state senators could not reach a quorum of 20 to hold a vote. Although several Republican state senators returned to the Senate chamber on June 29, 2019, leading to the cap-and-trade bill being sent back to committee, while other bills were passed, Girod was missing, and it was stated that he would not return for the month’s legislative session.”

Now with wildfires raging in Oregon, climate change has come to Girod’s doorstep. Literally.

Oregon Live:

MILL CITY — Fred Girod stood near the edge of a steep drop between what remained of his house and the Santiam River, grasping the destruction days after the Beachie Creek wildfire destroyed homes, businesses and landmarks along the canyon.

The walls of the one-story home had collapsed, leaving two stone columns and a chimney that rose out of the rubble. The heat and flames had twisted the frame of the deck where he would sit to watch bald eagles, ospreys and sunrises.

Girod, a 69-year-old state senator, made an impromptu trip Sunday into his sprawling district that includes many of the most hard-hit areas decimated by wildfires that have now burned more than 1 million acres across the state and killed at least 10 people.

“It hurts,” Girod said, hands in his dark denim jeans.

Girod had been turned away last week when he tried to reach his home near Mill City, population 1,900, one of the larger towns in the Santiam Canyon. But he was able to make it this day by heading north via Linn County.

“My job is to know what’s happening in the district,” Girod said. “I need to be able to assess the damage.”

He got help from Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist.

The men drove a loop through some of the towns in the evacuation zone, first going on the south side of the Santiam River through Lyons and Mill City, then crossing the river to Gates and then the northern half of Mill City on their way back to Salem.

As they passed through the Linn County countryside into the Cascade foothills, the two politicians talked about how to help people deal with the devastation. If they rebuild, can they keep their old property tax rates? Who will do the cleanups of all the toxic materials? How will kids go back to school or get any education?

His home was one of the last stops.

Girod walked around the house that his parents had built in 1968, a year before he finished high school.

The only recognizable items in the ash were a metal bed frame in what used to be his bedroom and a metal bowl for logs that stood on the fireplace mantle for logs. He doubts the three cats he left behind are alive – perhaps the toughest loss for him and his wife to bear.

He has yet to decide if he’ll rebuild. First, he’ll have to clean up the property, see what the insurance companies say and check the condition of the trees.

The remains of his Dodge diesel truck, recently in “cherry” condition, stood higher up the hill from his house.

“That’s my forever home,” Girod said. “That’s my forever truck.”

7 Responses to “Karma/Bitch: Denialist Legislator’s House Burns in Climate Fueled Inferno”

  1. ecoquant Says:


    While compassion is deserved for many who were wrong, someone with the responsibility for the lives of many others who, with their wrongheaded thinking, ignorance, and self-interested actions, ended up helping harm them deserves a great deal less.

    This is a problem I have with UU principles to which I supposedly adhere.

  2. disperser Says:

    Truth is, he’s likely better able to cope than many of his constituents. One can bet he’s heavily insured.

    Not to say it doesn’t hurt him, but my experience with people who have money is that they fare better than most when disaster strikes. It remains to be seen if he’s grown as a person and as a legislator because of this.

    And, just to cover all bases . . . even if they would have stayed and passed the legislation, too late to affect what’s going on but it would have been a start.

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