This past week has been nothing short of a nightmare for many in our community. I lived in Paradise for a time and enjoyed its mountain charm. Seeing it now is both shocking and heartbreaking. My sincere condolences to everyone affected.
It’s important to note that not all is lost. I had several opportunities to head up The Ridge this past weekend to survey the scene. And I was able to confirm—and deny—several of the preliminary reports of loss. Here are some bright spots, beloved businesses that still stand, in an otherwise dreary week of news:
Skyway: The strip mall containing Celestino’s, as well as Starbucks, Dutch Bros., Cozy Diner, Chin Dynasty and Pelican’s Roost. Dollar General is there (so is the one on Clark), as are Attic Treasures Antique Mall, CVS and the Holiday Market center.
Pearson Road: The strip mall containing Izzy’s Burger Spa, plus Paradise Hobbies.
Clark Road: Taco Bell and Westside Pizza still stand, as do the Butte County Library, DMV and U.S. Postal Service buildings. Despite preliminary reports, Kmart and the attached complex—including Save Mart and Mountain Mike’s Pizza—as well as Paradise Cinema 7 are still standing.
In Magalia, Jaki’s Hilltop Cafe still stands, as does Sakura Sushi. Paradise Memorial Park looks pristine, and the Historic Pioneer Church appears unscathed.
Thank you I want to give a shout out to the many local businesses and individuals who have opened their homes and hearts to evacuees. So many have donated time, money and inventory to this cause. There are frankly too many to name, but here are the ones I have personally witnessed: The Buzz, Crush, Fifth Street Steakhouse, Gnarly Deli, Gordo Burrito, Japanese Blossoms, The Lab Bar & Grill, Mayhem Gourmet Grilled Cheese, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Truckaroni. I’ve missed about a million others, but thanks goes out to everyone who has pitched in.
On a larger scale, I’m happy to see big corporations stepping up. The Walmart Foundation has promised to donate $500,000 to California fire relief efforts. The San Francisco 49ers hosted the Paradise High football team and coaches at Levi Stadium for this week’s Monday Night Football game. AT&T, which set up its mobile cell tower in Paradise to facilitate communication between first responders, has pledged $150,000 and also has waived charges and offered unlimited talk and text for those affected. Also, T-Mobile has waived charges and suspended collections for those in affected areas, plus has stocked its local stores with chargers, loaner phones and masks. And, of course, celebrity chefs Tyler Florence (with World Central Kitchen) and Guy Fieri made appearances to feed first responders and evacuees.
Others have stepped up as well. Sierra Nevada donated $100,000 in seed money for a Camp Fire relief fund through Golden Valley Bank Community Foundation. Dutch Bros. is taking donations through Nov. 19 and will match them, up to $150,000. And Lulus’ Outlet store in downtown Chico is offering $100 worth of clothing to anyone displaced by the Camp Fire. In addition, it’s dropping all prices for those folks to $5 per item. The Arc Store and Goodwill also are offering free clothing with proof of address.