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Jamie Lusch / Mail TribuneFEMA is working on installing houses on Friday at the Totem Pole trailer park in Talent.

Jamie Lusch / Mail TribuneFEMA gives a tour of the houses located at the Totem Pole trailer park in Talent on Friday.

25 FEMA prefab homes are ready for occupants at Totem Pole Trailer Park in Talent

Despite the drizzle, it was a cheerful Friday morning as more than 30 people gathered to visit one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 25 new manufactured home units in the Totem Pole Trailer Park in Talent.

People displaced by the Almeda fire are expected to start moving this week.

Tenants will be able to live in trailers without rent, although they will have to pay for utilities. Two more trailers are on the way, officials said.

People can live in the units for up to 18 months from last October when the federal disaster declaration was approved.

Talent Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood said it was essential to have FEMA sites in Talent so those displaced by the fire could have some semblance of a home.

“This has been the mission of the Town of Talent from day one, to bring our families home, because we know that if we don’t do it and if we don’t ask for help to do it, we are not. not gonna bring our families home, ”Ayers-Flood said. “So this is a particularly emotional day for Talent.”

FEMA trailers are fully furnished, each with a shared kitchen-living area, one to three bedrooms, bathroom, refrigerator, microwave, mattresses, running water, heating and air conditioning and a fire extinguishing system.

“It gives the survivor time to come out, if something happens,” said Tony Raines, a coordinating officer for FEMA. “It’s not about my structure, it’s about the survivor and meeting her needs. They’ve gone through enough, they don’t need to start over.

Often in disaster relief, the biggest problems do not come from the disaster, but from the challenges of different groups and organizations working together, said Stan Thomas, chief of the mitigation and recovery section of the office. Oregon Emergency Management.

Not so much in this case, said Raines, “where the barriers were the challenges of the actual disaster, not the partnerships that come together.”

The first step in returning the Totem Pole site to habitable condition was to clean up the park and remove the concrete and trees. FEMA worked with the state’s commercial property debris removal program to clean it up. Then they tested the floor to make sure it was clean. The last step was for the Army Corps of Engineers to move in and set up the trailers.

Over the next few months, FEMA, state and local authorities, and contractors plan to move more than 110 trailers to the Phoenix-Talent area.

Thomas remembers what he said to the displaced families. “We’re going to have bad days and we’re going to have good days. We’re all going to be frustrated, but we’re going to be frustrated together, ”said Thomas. “And we’ll be fine.

“Today is a good day,” he said.

Reach Mail Tribune, News Intern, William Seekamp at [email protected]

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