News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Housing recovery plan meeting set for Tuesday in Gates

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

The state of Oregon has $422 million in federal funds to spend on fire recovery, with the Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) in the final stages of its preparation of an action plan for spending the funds.

The OHCS has scheduled five meetings this month to take public comment before its June 8 deadline to submit the report to federal housing officials. All public comments must be received by June 1.

Santiam Canyon residents can participate on Tuesday, May 17 at the Gates Community Church of Christ, 40070 Gates School Road. The session begins with a 5 p.m. open house, with the public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Other meetings are scheduled for Lincoln City, the McKenzie River town of Vida and Talent in Southern Oregon.

The 2020 Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires, fueled by drought conditions and high winds combined to burn nearly 400,000 acres in Marion, Linn and Clackamas counties and destroy more than 1,000 structures. The state overall experienced 5 mega-fires of more than 100,000 acres in 2020. No other year had featured more than one such blaze in the state’s recorded history. Twenty of Oregon’s 36 counties are covered by the action plan.

Detroit, Idanha and Gates were the hardest-hit Canyon communities, while Mill City, Mehama and Lyons also experienced fire losses. The fires produced the most damage on the Marion County side of the North Santiam River, according to the draft action plan, with 633 destroyed or damaged homes in Marion County and 71 in Linn County.

The current draft plan by the state includes the following allocations of funds (figures are rounded). State housing officials say the programs may be amended or expanded and that these are just the starting place for the recovery program:

$204 million: Homeowner assistance and reconstruction program.

$119 million: Homeownership opportunities program.

$17 million: Intermediate housing assistance.

$6 million: Housing and recovery services.

$6 million: Legal services.

$40 million: Disaster resilience infrastructure program.

$8 million: Community planning and revitalization program.

$21 million: Program administrative costs.

Federal rules require that at least 15% of the funds be used to mitigate future disasters and at least 70% must be used for programs or projects that will benefit low- to moderate-income residents.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

In addition to the May 17 public meeting in Gates, Canyon residents can respond to the draft action plan for housing recovery funds by
emailing [email protected], using the web form at
https://www.oregon.gov/ohcs/housing-assistance/disaster-recovery/pages/reoregon.aspx?utm_source=OHCS&utm_medium=egov_redirect&utm_campaign=https%3A%2F%2Fre.oregon.gov, calling
833-604-0878 or mailing information to Recovery and Resiliency Section, Oregon Housing & Community Services, 725 Summer St. NE, Suite B, Salem, OR 97301. 

The public comment period ends June 1.

To view the full 198-page draft action plan go to https://tinyurl.com/58vak9ys.

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