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Hope is in sight for tiny house project

An expanded version of a much-delayed homeless housing project known as Hope Village will be up for Medford City Council approval Thursday.

The village, a collection of 14 bare-bones cottages, was originally going to be located on a single city-owned lot, but Rogue Retreat, organizers of the project, have leased three other privately owned lots as part of a grander, 1.61-acre complex at the corner of Columbus Avenue and McAndrews Road.

In January, the council approved a proposal that would have shoehorned the facilities onto a single city lot.

But organizers, who originally hoped to open the village last winter, saw other opportunities and leased the three adjacent lots, including one with a small house that is being converted to a welcome center and offices.

City planners have recommended approval of the expanded project, including waiving a requirement to pave a gravel parking area.

Originally scheduled to open in January, the cluster of 14 tiny houses still doesn’t have a definite opening date because of a series of complications, including a wet winter.

Last November, the city leased a strip of property to Rogue Retreat. In the meantime, supporters negotiated leases on three adjacent properties where a welcome center, community room and parking area are to be located.

In addition to recent delays, rain stalled the project over the winter, and a fence that is required to surround Hope Village won’t be installed until July 24.

On one of the leased properties, a house that is being remodeled is connected to a septic system. Under city rules, because of the change of use, it must be connected to the sewer at a cost of $25,000.

As a result of the changes, the cost of the project has ballooned to $350,000. Organizers raised $240,000 in donations, but a $100,000 state grant has helped offset the costs.

— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

Pastor Chad McComas is executive director of Rogue Retreat, organizers of Hope Village. [Mail Tribune File Photo]