The Lincoln County Commissioner’s Board last week approved a resolution transferring Otis’s foreclosed property to Lincoln County Humanitarian Settlement, one of dozens of families displaced by the wildfires in temporary living conditions. One step closer to a permanent home.
The Commissioner, at its regular meeting on August 3, approved a no smoking demand deed giving the local Habitat for Humanity organization full rights to the property at 4220 Salmon River Hwy. Assistant county attorney Brian Gardner told the board that there were two caveats that could be returned to county ownership.
“The process of becoming low-income housing should be completed within five years,” he said.
Federally designated “low-income housing” is reserved for people earning less than 80% of median household income adjusted for family size in certain neighborhoods. Median household income in Lincoln County was $50,775 from 2016 to 2020. According to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Regulations, if the local median income is lower than the statewide median non-metropolitan area ($65,800 in Oregon), the statewide figure is used.
The commissioner approved the deal last week with little debate, as Gardner, the local Habitat chief and state consultant, provided the details at the board’s last meeting.
Gardner said the county acquired the property after the owner posted $2,500 in delinquent property taxes, and the 0.52-acre lot was valued at $54,950, according to county records. It was acquired in 2020 and the last tax payment was made in 2015.
Under state law, there are only three things you can do to dispose of such seized property, the county attorney said: Sell it at auction, donate it to low-income housing, or donate it to childcare or social services. Donate for. Otherwise, the county can only keep the property. You are not permitted to develop it for your own use.
“Putting seized property on the register does nothing,” Gardner said. “We can’t make them better. No, and the proposal gives you the assurance that it will be developed in an efficient and rapid process.”
Commissioner Katie Jacobson said the state government worked with Habitat for survivors of the 2020 Echo Wildfires, which destroyed nearly 300 homes along the Highway 18 corridor west of Rose Lodge. , said the project is somewhat unique due to the rapid development of the property.
Thomas Kemper, a consultant hired by Oregon Housing and Community Services, participated in the videoconference. He and his partner Bruce Wood signed contracts to develop affordable temporary and permanent housing in wildfire-affected counties, including Jackson, Lane, Lincoln and Marion.
He promised that the state would purchase 140 modular housing units currently in Jackson and Idaho and send two to Lincoln County, preferably to be located in the Otis burn area. To do.
“The goal is to actually donate the module unit to a local nonprofit and provide the funding to put it in place,” Kemper said, including infrastructure and foundations. Dedicated to wildfire survivors with a household income of 80% or less The key issue is that we need to act very quickly, which is expected to happen within the next 2-3 months. ”
Lucinda Taylor, executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Lincoln County, said the timeline is not feasible.
“We have confirmed that in order to obtain title insurance for this property, we will have to go through the quiet title process for this property,” Taylor said. In no time we will be ready to have our contractors in place, all permits in place, and all at the same time.”
Taylor pointed out that a contractor would have to install a septic tank because the property is away from the sewers. She said her organization’s board of directors has already signed the project preliminary and is ready to hold an email vote to formally accept the donation if the commissioner approves it.
Habitat’s director told The News Times on Monday that the organization is still seeking bids from multiple contractors to meet the state’s funding requirements. You have not selected a family.
“I spoke with disaster caseworkers about some basic criteria, and they confirmed that there are many individuals who qualify,” says Taylor. “I will put together the application form.”
To be eligible, applicants will likely need to own their own home, but not necessarily land.
“So it could be someone who was in one of the destroyed trailer parks that hasn’t been rebuilt,” she said. A former resident of Salmon River Mobile Village, where 29 of 31 homes were destroyed, learned earlier this year that the new owners would not rebuild for the same purpose.)
“We know there are a lot of eligible households[for low-income housing]affected by the wildfires,” Taylor said. We will let anyone who has the potential to apply so that they can apply, it is basically a lottery system from there.”
Once a family is selected, they are given a home with no cost to the building or related construction, with a title restriction that it can only be sold as low-income housing. Habitat would ideally retain title to the land with the same sales limits, Taylor said.
No one knows exactly how many Echo Mountain wildfire survivors are still living in temporary housing. The standard is about 30 families, about 50 to 100 people.
Bethany Grace Howe, who has worked with wildfire survivors since the immediate aftermath of the disaster, first as a resource navigator contracted by the county, then as director of a relief nonprofit, and then the Oregon Department of Human Services Emergency Management Unit. Through Otis said about 135 families had returned to their homes on their property.
Of the remaining approximately 165 households (which could mean one or more adults and children), about 10 are still living in state-sponsored temporary housing such as hotels. Perhaps half of them are just waiting for their homes to be completed or handed over, Howe said, facing long delays caused by supply chains.
“Perhaps 20 households have not secured long-term housing of any kind, but because of[mentalhealthdruguseorotherIt’sthehouseholdsthataren’treceivingitit’simpedingtheirabilitytobeadvocatesforthemselves”Howesaid
Based on her knowledge of how many fire-affected properties were sold and how many people lived there, she left the area and found permanent residence elsewhere from 40. He said the estimate of 50 families was “guess-on-guess.” She went to other counties and continued to receive state wildfire assistance.
“These numbers are still developing,” Howe said. “I still talk to people who fall into the category of ‘This is resolved, I got an apartment, I got a place to live, I’m trying to get my life back on track.’ In a week, that’s too much, let me know they need to go. They need a fresh start.”
Commissioner Jacobson also noted that about 10 families are still temporarily housed in a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer on land of the United Tribes of Siletz Indians in Lincoln City.
“If you ask how many houses are still temporarily housed, it’s not an easy number,” Jacobson said. Among the 300 buildings that burned down were more than two households at the time, some of whom lived in trailers or vehicles and were not covered by the bushfires. For Home Relief, not tracked by agencies.
“And some of the people who have returned are living in trailers and Olympic cars,” Jacobson said. “They have moved back into their own homes, but I wouldn’t call it permanent housing. and that we need more resources to help them.”
Jacobson pointed to other housing projects underway for wildfire survivors. These include fixed-income former hotel housing, primarily for seniors, operated by the Lincoln County Housing Authority. She also said state housing consultant Kemper is working to develop a small home village in the Otis area, and the county is already in the process of taking ownership of another tax-foreclosed property. . Modular home mentioned by Kemper during the meeting.