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MailTribune.com
  • Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity has a home of its own

    The organization, which builds affordable housing for low-income residents, has bought the building it has been leasing
  • After building 47 affordable homes in the area, Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity now has a permanent home of its own.
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  • After building 47 affordable homes in the area, Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity now has a permanent home of its own.
    The organization has completed the purchase of its ReStore location, at 2233 S. Pacific Highway, which it had leased from Bank of the Cascades since 2011.
    "We are really calling this a home for Habitat," said Habitat Executive Director Denise James.
    "Bank of the Cascades was trying really hard to sell the properties," James said.
    She cited environmental concerns as one of the barriers the bank had faced in selling the property. The building, formerly owned by Naumes Equipment, once housed used motor oil and other chemicals. James said the organization submitted soil samples and other information about the building to the Department of Environmental Quality.
    "All of this went to DEQ, which gave it a clean bill of health," she said. "Once those steps went through, we knew we had to move fast."
    James said moving the ReStore in 2011 from Fir Street, where the store began selling used home-improvement materials in 2003, was a risk.
    "We had to have an increase in sales of 18 percent," she said, to cover costs involved in the move. "We were hesitant and afraid because we had to have an income increase."
    But the risk paid off.
    "Within that first six months, our sales increased 76 percent," she said.
    By the end of the first year at the location, sales had increased 83 percent, and sales have been "consistently increasing," according to James.
    "It was important for our mission to have that increase in funding," she said. "And that increase meant we had more money to build houses."
    Buying the building involved a similar risk, Jones said. The organization had to dip into funds normally set aside for the building of houses in order to meet the narrow time frame required by the sale.
    But purchase will save money in the long run, because the mortgage payment will be lower than the lease payments, James said.
    "Within a 10-year period, we're going to be able to build 10 to 15 houses just from the savings," she said.
    The 3.8-acre property also provides lease revenue from Party Place and a U.S. Cellular tower — revenue that had previously gone to Bank of the Cascades.
    Habitat will hold a reception and fundraiser from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at the ReStore. RSVP is required by calling 541-779-1983.
    "Our capital campaign is actually to raise the $200,000 needed for a down payment," James said, adding that nearly $100,000 already has been raised through donations and grants.
    Medford City Council president Al Densmore and Habitat for Humanity International board member Liz Crossman will attend Saturday's event.
    "This will ensure a sustainable income for the future to provide affordable housing in our community," James said.
    Reach newsroom assistant Nick Morgan at nmorgan@mailtribune.com.
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