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Klamath County Buys Motel For Transitional Housing

The Oregon Motel 8 and its nearby RV park was purchased by Klamath County to turn into transitional housing.
Oregon Motel 8
The Oregon Motel 8 and its nearby RV park was purchased by Klamath County to turn into transitional housing.

Klamath County has purchased a motel to turn into transitional housing. Officials are considering saving space in anticipation of wildfire season.

The county bought the Oregon Motel 8 and RV Park in Klamath Falls for $1.5 million dollars. It’s part of Project Turnkey, a statewide housing program that arose in response to the pandemic.

The property includes the 29-room motel and an RV park with 34 spaces. The county will work with local nonprofits to house unsheltered people in the motel.

County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot says leaders are also considering saving space just in case people need to evacuate their homes during this wildfire season.

“It's unknown what we'll see this year,” DeGroot says. “However, we've already had evacuations in fires this year. They were very short-lived, but I've never seen fire start this early. So we're having preliminary discussions about whether or not it would be prudent to leave some units open.”

Klamath County is in a declared drought emergency as the Klamath Basin is experiencing an extremely dry season.

The motel vacated its short- and long-term tenants last month. People are still living in the RV park, but he says the county is trying to help them find other housing.

Klamath County leaders expect to have the transitional housing shelter open by early summer.

Project Turnkey has helped fund similar projects in six different cities, including Medford, Ashland, Eugene, Corvallis, Lincoln City, and Pendleton. The project aims to buy up to 20 properties that will include about 1,000 units. Its overall budget stands at $65 million, with $30 million earmarked for eight wildfire-affected counties.

April Ehrlich is JPR content partner at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Prior to joining OPB, she was a regional reporter at Jefferson Public Radio where she won a National Edward R. Murrow Award.