TALENT, Ore. --- On Monday, the City of Talent welcomed it first fire survivor back into the community following the opening of the Gateway Project.
“It's an opportunity for families that were affected by the fire that live in our school district to have, longer term transitional housing. Today is a day of excitement,” Tracy Koa, Student and Family Engagement Specialist for the Phoenix-Talent School District said.
The Gateway Project is a site that begins as transitional housing for Almeda Fire survivors, prioritizing families with kids in the Phoenix-Talent School District, and eventually moving toward permanent affordable housing at the same site. It's located at 102 S Pacific Highway, right at the intersection with W Valley View Road.
Christy Brooks was the first fire survivor to move in on Monday. She and her two daughters lost everything they owned in the Almeda fire.
“It was the most horrible day of my life and my children's. It was terrifying, to have the fire where like right next to us, as we're trying to escape,” Brooks said.
Brooks said the last year of her life was extremely challenging. She's been living at Emigrant Lake with her two daughters and sometimes even sharing the same bed.
“It's a day of thanks because we were literally freezing having to sleep in one bed and in shifts because we had no heat,” Brooks added.
Now Christy has a place to call her own and she and her daughters look forward to the next chapter of her life.
“I can't thank everybody enough for what they've done for us and what they're planning on doing for everybody else,” Brooks concluded.