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Manufactured homes begin to appear in fire-damaged parks

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneLots prepare for mobile home installation at Medford Estates.

Manufactured homes have begun to appear in small numbers at parks damaged by last September’s Almeda fire that raged between Medford and Ashland.

In total, 1,568 trailers burned or were substantially damaged in the county, Talent and Phoenix. Only 59 units have received certificates of occupancy, although permits for placement of homes issued or requested total 111.

The numbers do not include 117 Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers that have been placed in three parks to provide temporary housing. Data reporting dates varied by jurisdictions.

Parks are pursuing different strategies ranging from major rebuilds and offering units for sale themselves to individual owners bringing homes to spaces and handling the permits. There have been no applications for rebuilding at some parks.

Work on Oakridge, the former Bear Lake Estates, is highly visible where it is located adjacent to Interstate 5 just south of Exit 24. Large construction vehicles and crews are seen on the site regularly.

“They are doing significant underground work and three buildings,” said Joe Slaughter, city of Phoenix community and economic development director. The buildings included a club house, a fitness center and a new maintenance building.

Natural gas, a first for the park, is being installed, said Mike McCabe, who is working on the project with owner, Investment Property Group of Park City, Utah.

“We are in the thick of that right now,” said McCabe. Besides the natural gas, new electrical and cable is being installed. The first 17 sites are ready to receive homes, and all 210 should be ready within the next month. New landscaping and a dog park will be installed.

Oakridge will handle all sales and expects to have three model homes on site for tours around April, wrote Sales Director David Bates in response to questions. Sales are expected to begin in May, and home prices are anticipated to be $150,000 to $200,000 for most three- and four- bedroom homes with 1,400 to 1,700 square feet. Former park residents who are interested will be given priority on purchases.

Oakridge will handle all permit actions. That will ease processing for the city, said Slaughter, as each home will need to have three permits issued.

In Phoenix, Bear Lake Estates lost 210 units. Two parks located on the south end of Highway 99 also suffered losses; Greenway Village lost 36 units and Creekside Estates lost 38.

A new Phoenix Recovery Dashboard on the city website provides a map showing where each structure was destroyed, with those that have had permits issued or under review highlighted in one color, while certificates of occupancy are shown in another color.

On Thursday the map showed four permit actions at Oakridge, four occupancy and two permit actions at Greenway, and two occupancy and seven permit actions at Creekside. At Greenway and Creekside, individual homeowners came in to secure approvals.

Floodplain and floodway issues have not affected rebuilding to the extent first feared, said Slaughter. In both Oakridge and Creekside some new homes will have to be elevated to comply with flood regulations, he said.

Jackson County had issued 52 certificates of occupancy for manufactured homes as of Oct. 26, Ted Zuk, county development services director, reported. A total of 904 trailers in parks located in the county were damaged or destroyed, while 47 other trailers on private lots also burned. County figures include manufactured homes lost in the South Obenchain fire, where 47 buildings of all kinds were lost in a blaze that started the same day as the Almeda fire.

Except for Bear Creek Mobile Home Park just north of Ashland’s Exit 19, all other damaged parks in Jackson County are north of Phoenix and south of Medford along Highway 99 and west of Interstate 5.

Four parks are seeking whole park replacement in which the park owners come to the county with minor or no changes from the original permit. The application is processed as a Land Use Interpretation, Zuk said. The parks, with space numbers, are: Pacific Village Mobile Park, 82; Boyland Mobile Home Park, 22; Bel-Air Trailer Park, 52; and Bear Creek Mobile, 69.

In Medford Estates, 42 permits for replacement dwellings have been sought, while five have been requested at Whispering Pines. No permits have been sought for either Royal Oaks or Horizon Mobile Village. Care Free Mobile Village has had a pre-application conference.

Coleman Creek and Rogue Valley Manor, both just north of Phoenix, are accommodating FEMA trailers. Twenty units are at Rogue Valley Manor, and 70 are at Coleman Creek. They were not counted in the certificates of occupancy figures, Zuk said.

In Talent, figures compiled at the end of September showed that 43 permits were issued for mobile home placement and another two permits had been applied for. FEMA trailers placed in the Totem Pole Park along Highway 99 accounted for 27 of the permits.

Mountain View Estates had the other 16 permits issued. The park is located along Bear Creek. Floodplain and floodway issues can be resolved by elevating the trailer at what will probably be fewer than a dozen spaces, said Kristen Maze, Talent community development director.

A total of 194 homes were destroyed by the Almeda fire at Mountain View, while Talent Mobile Estates lost 82 and Wagner Creek Estates lost 24. Thirty-three mobile units were destroyed in Totem Pole.

Site preparation is underway at Talent Mobile Estates on Arnos Street, but permits for placements haven’t been sought yet, said Maze. She said that Talent Mobile and Wagner Creek both had a number of single-wide trailers, and that new park configurations might accommodate fewer units. At Wagner Creek, permits have been issued for construction of a laundry room with living quarters on top, but no permits for home placement have been requested.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter at gmail.com.