Temporary housing coming to Rainbow for Holiday Farm Fire survivors

A total of 17 trailers will be set up at a site in Rainbow, bringing survivors closer to their communities.

Posted: Jun 3, 2021 11:50 AM
Updated: Jun 4, 2021 6:56 PM

RAINBOW, Ore. – After the devastating Holiday Farm Fire ripped through the McKenzie River area last September, many families are still looking for a place to stay that’s closer to home.

Soon, 17 trailers will spring up in Rainbow to provide temporary housing to survivors.

Jamee Savidge is a community organizer with the McKenzie Community Development Corporation. She has been working for months to secure the temporary housing.

"One of the hurdles that we've faced here is that we don't have the space," Savidge said. "There's not big large areas of space, public or private."

RELATED: MOBILE HOMES STAGED IN GARDINER TO BE USED BY WILDFIRE VICTIMS

KEZI 9 News talked to Paul Corah, spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management, who said the families are excited to be able to be closer to their schools, jobs and community when the trailers are ready to go.

"The temporary housing will last for 18 months from the start of the disaster, so if they get in within June they could stay in that housing until at least March."

The trailers include one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom housing options depending on a family’s needs. There’s also the option of trailers that are accessible for people with disabilities.

And while they are provided rent free, residents will have to pay utilities.

The site is just behind the US Basketball Academy, and FEMA said it's one of the only locations in the area where it's possible to fit the trailers.

"It's the only place that's big enough to house these folks," said Matt O'Neil, who runs the US Basketball Academy. "A lot of times when they do these land leases they just get a big open field and they put these units on it, but it's not a community."

But that's not what O'Neil and Jim Schmit who also runs the facility want to happen. They're planning to provide resources to make their new guests feel welcome in their temporary home.

"We have services for the families that come in, in addition to having a nice place to live, and a beautiful view," Schmit said. "They're going to have all the facilities you would normally have in a resort."

READ ON: FEMA DENIES REQUEST FOR SOME TEMPORARY HOUSING OPTIONS FOR WILDFIRE SURVIVORS

Corah said construction will take roughly 20 days, and they’ve been on time at previously constructed sites in Oregon. The families that will be moving in have already been selected through an application process.

In March, FEMA will evaluate the situation and decide whether to extend the 18-month temporary housing allowance. Corah said more than a hundred Oregon families are waiting to be placed into temporary housing due to the wildfires.

Savidge says this is just the beginning of the rebuilding process.

"There's a real big misconception that almost nine months after the fire, that we're a lot farther along with our clean up and rebuild than we are and the truth is it's a very slow process and it's going to take years."

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