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FEMA offers to bring 200 mobile homes to Jackson County

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has offered to clean up one or more mobile home parks in the Almeda fire zone, repair utilities and provide 200 mobile homes to house displaced residents.

“That’s fantastic for us,” said Jackson County Emergency Operations Director John Vial.

With fire-displaced households averaging three people, the mobile home park effort could house about 600 people.

“We’re contacting mobile home parks to see if any are interested in participating,” Vial said.

FEMA would pay a mobile home park owner for use of the land, county officials said.

The mobile homes provided by FEMA could be clustered in one park or in a few parks to accommodate the 200 trailers, said Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan.

FEMA wants the county to provide a list of mobile home park owners who would be interested in the idea, he said.

FEMA’s cleanup of a mobile home park would be done separately from an effort currently underway to clean debris from burned properties, Jordan said.

An Environmental Protection Agency-run hazardous debris removal effort in the Almeda fire zone is nearly complete — except for properties where owners haven’t signed right-of-entry forms to allow government-funded crews onto their land.

Visit jacksoncounty.org/roe to access a form.

The Oregon Department of Transportation will take the lead in removing the rest of the nonhazardous debris.

FEMA’s offer to clear debris from one or more parks and provide 200 mobile homes comes on top of news earlier this week that the federal agency is scouring the region to bring 162 RVs to Jackson County.

As they come in, those RVs will be temporarily staged at The Expo in Central Point.

The goal is to place those in local RV parks throughout Jackson County, Vial said.

They could be placed at county-run camping sites at Emigrant Lake, Rogue Elk Park near Shady Cove and the Southern Oregon RV Park next to The Expo, he said.

The county is also in discussions with the state about using state parks such as Valley of the Rogue near the town of Rogue River and Joseph Stewart State Park near Lost Creek Lake, Vial said.

RVs and trailers appear to be the fastest, most cost-effective way to boost the area’s housing supply during the cleanup and rebuilding process.

Some local nonprofits and businesses have already been placing burned-out residents in RVs and trailers on a smaller scale.

FEMA offers rent assistance, but rentals were in short supply even before the Almeda fire in southern Jackson County and South Obenchain fire in northern Jackson County destroyed thousands of homes in September.

About two-thirds of the homes destroyed by the Almeda fire were in manufactured home parks in the Phoenix and Talent area. County officials have identified 20 parks that were impacted. Some have a few dozen spots, while others have more than 200.

Anyone who suffered a loss from the fires should register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362, TTY: 1-800-462-7585 or visiting disasterassistance.gov. The registration deadline for the Almeda and South Obenchain fire disasters is Monday, Nov. 16.

More than 4,370 people have registered with FEMA, and the agency has distributed $17.3 million in grants, including $13.8 million in housing assistance, Jackson County officials said early this week.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

Environmental Protection Agency workers remove hazardous materials{ } from a Talent neighborhood that was destroyed in the Almeda Fire. (Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune)