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Talent preparing for after effects of the Almeda Fire

The city of Talent held a meeting tonight to discuss some of the things that the city could be facing from the Almeda Fire. Both John Vial , Jackson County Emergency Director and Kelly Madding, Medford Deputy City Manager, were in attendance to inform council members of the rebuilding process.

Posted: Oct 8, 2020 12:05 AM
Updated: Oct 8, 2020 12:09 AM

TALENT, Ore-- Talent city council members met tonight to discuss the rebuilding process that the city and local officials are planning for the areas affected by the Almeda Fire.

Both John Vial , Jackson County Emergency Director, and Kelly Madding, Medford Deputy City Manager, were in attendance to inform council members of some of the things that the county is doing to help, and to inform them on how much some of the costs might be.

Vial informed the council members that debris removal for the area will begin on October, 19. Eight crews of between six to seven will be working throughout the area to clean up homes and businesses that were destroyed by the fire. He estimated that crews should be able to clean between five to six sites per day, and for mobile homes around 20. The cost of deris removal is also estimated to be around 200 million dollars. 

But Vial thinks that there is one major concern that could slow the process down.

"These rights of entry forms are absolutely necessary," said Vial. "They are not allowed on to the property without permission to go there."

People have until October 16 to get their forms completed to allow clean up crews onto their properties to remove hazardous material, trash and other things from the burned properties. If a property owner does not get their form completely by the sixteenth there will be no penalty.

Right of entry forms can be found on the Jackson County Emergency website.

The council also discussed the housing crisis that Jackson County is facing, especially with the fires that have hit the area. 

According information from the Red Cross, private businesses and FEMA, given to Kelly Madding, more than 1,000 people have been put up in hotels for temporary housing and more than 1,600 people are with either family or friends.

And now the county needs more housing or trailers to come to the area to support the thousands of people that have lost their homes.

"We just don't have any vacancy here," said Madding. "We already had a housing problem and this has made the problem even worse."

According to Madding and Phoenix Mayor Chris Luz, the area affected by the Almeda Fire has been approved by FEMA for the housing assistance program which will bring trailers or manufactured homes to the area. Madding and the mayor could not give any details on when these new temporary homes could be coming to the area, but stated that more details will be released very soon.

The council also voted unanimously on a special ordinance tonight that would protect mobile home parks from being built into single family stick hold homes or something else. The concern without the special ordinance, a buyer could come into a mobile home area that had been destroyed and buy the area.

The new ordinance will now protect mobile home parks that were destroyed, for the time being. However, if a mobile home park plans to rebuild, officials say that the park will have to be remade bigger to allow for more mobile homes, or other types of homes to be built on the property.  

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