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Trailer Park Destroyed By Wildfire Is Reborn As Housing For Fire Victims

Community organizers give a tour of a FEMA trailer at the Totem Pole Trailer Park.
Sydney Dauphinais/JPR
Community organizers give a tour of a FEMA trailer at the Totem Pole Trailer Park.

Last September’s Almeda Fire burned hundreds of homes in Southern Oregon, many of them low-income housing units. The Federal Emergency Management Agency partnered with local and state organizations to help rebuild.

Totem Pole Trailer Park, off Highway 99 in Talent, burned down entirely last fall. After months of planning and weeks of construction, the space now hosts 27 FEMA one-to-three bedroom trailers for wildfire survivors.

Talent Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood says the low-income families who lost their homes were the ones most in need of help.

“Every day is a difficult situation when you live in these kinds of circumstances," said the mayor. "And when what little you have is ripped away from you, you don’t get back unless your community wraps their arms around you and does everything they can to bring you back.”

Each unit is fully furnished, included with bedding and disposable utensils. There's a kitchen, bathroom and a built-in fire suppression system with a smoke detector. Some were built to be wheelchair accessible and they all can house multiple people.

Toney Raines, a federal coordinator with FEMA, says site organizers have been working to make move-in as easy as possible.

“All the applicant has to do is walk in with their pots and pans and food, and they can make their first meal," said Raines. "There are sheets for the beds, there’s pillows, there’s everything they need to get a good night’s sleep in their home.”

The trailers are designed to be temporary housing, but city officials are looking into using the site for more permanent living. Either way, residents at the park will be able to live in the units rent-free until at least March of next year.