GARDINER, Ore. – Residents of a small Douglas County coastal town are learning why there are groups of trailers sitting in an empty property in the area.
The trailers are located at an old mill site on Highway 101 in Gardiner. Residents said they arrived a few weeks ago.
However, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said the trailers are actually mobile homes that will be used by displaced wildfire victims in Lane and Jackson counties. They said they are being staged there before they are brought to the families that need them.
“We’re trying to get these mobile homes in kind of the central area of where they lived,” said spokesman Paul Korah. “So the kids can go back to school, (they’re) in the area where (they) work.”
Korah said the trailers were temporarily being stored at a fairground site in the Medford area while they found a more permeant spot. He said the Gardiner mill site was everything they wanted and more.
“It’s just perfect for us because it gives us lots of land and it gives us the opportunity to bring in the trucks with the mobile homes,” said Korah.
Since the trailers arrived in Gardiner, there have been quite a lot of rumors about what the trailers are actually being used for. Korah said FEMA is aware of the rumors and they want to assure the community that they are being put to good use.
“These trailers are very much needed for the Oregonians that need them very much,” he said.
Now that most Gardiner residents are aware of why the trailers are there, they said they’re happy about it. They said it’s nice to see the property being used after more than 20 years of it being empty since the mill shut down.
“My first reaction was I was I was happy to see some activity on the mill property,” said David Anthony.
Other residents are hopeful the site will bring more attention to their small town.
“Maybe it will bring some life back to this town, maybe it will bring property values back up,” said Paul Tibbits.
Korah said they expect to occupy the mill site for about six more months.