Areas affected by the 2020 Labor Day fires will receive 625 affordable housing units

Grants announced this month will bring affordable homes and apartments to Oregon communities devastated by wildfires in 2020.

A deer sculpture remains in front of a heat-warped vinyl fence and the remains of a house in Gates in 2020. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Oregon counties devastated by the 2020 Labor Day fires will receive 625 new affordable homes thanks to more than $73 million from the state’s Housing Stability Council.

These wildfires have burned over a million acres and destroyed more than 4,000 homes. More than 1,700 of these were manufactured homes, one of the few affordable options for families.

The $73 million in grants announced this month is just a portion of more than $422 million the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated to Oregon for wildfire recovery. Most of the new homes will be limited income rental properties in Jackson, Marion, Clackamas and Lincoln counties.

In Jackson County, where the Almeda Fire destroyed the Talent Mobile Estates manufactured home park and displaced nearly 90 families, a nonprofit will receive $7.5 million to purchase the land and begin building convert it into a resident-owned co-op.

Medford will get 84 new homes, half of which will be sold to families earning 80% or less of the median income, which in Jackson County is $81,400. Medford will also be home to more than 230 new income-restricted rental apartments, intended to house farm workers displaced by the fires, and 22 income-restricted cottages for seniors.

A Salem apartment project, Gateway, will receive $25 million to build 129 apartments that can only be rented by people with household incomes below 60% of the region’s median, which in Salem is $89,100.

Marion County will also receive $2.8 million to build 24 homes outside the Salem city limits but inside the city’s urban growth limits, a line that dictates where cities can expand. . These homes will be for sale to people earning up to 80% of median income, but the land the homes are on will be owned by a community land trust.

The county government will also receive $1.7 million to purchase 15 acres of land in Mill City to use for future affordable housing.

“Currently, we have approximately 300 households in Marion County that do not have a place to call home,” Marion County Commissioner Danielle Bethell said in a statement. “This $1.7 million will not just be used to buy land; it will give us the opportunity to create long-term affordable housing that works for this community that has been devastated by the wildfires.

A Lincoln City nonprofit will receive nearly $4 million to build 44 low-income apartments for people displaced by wildfires that burned mobile home parks in the northern part of Lincoln County. In Clackamas County, nearly $10 million will go to 36 apartments in the rural community of Estacada.

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