Community leaders reflect on Almeda Fire rebuilding progress

PHOENIX-TALENT, Ore. —State Representative Pam Marsh hosted a forum Tuesday, about the progress the community has made since the Almeda Fire.

“Certainly none of us will ever forget that horrific day of September 8th, 2020,” said Representative Marsh.

A year after the Almeda Fire, leaders are reflecting on the last 12 months. The forum dubbed Our Path to Recovery, provided residents with a review of the progress made, and growth still to come.

“A year later, we can see the community beginning to rebound a few of us are already in new and beautiful homes and neighborhoods are beginning to take shape where there were only piles of debris a year ago,” said Representative Marsh.

Local leaders like, the mayor of Phoenix, Talent city council, and the Phoenix-Talent superintendent joined the conversation. Phoenix Mayor, Terry Baker says he is happy about the progress the community has made and is hopeful for what the future holds.

“We’re really excited in Phoenix we have four sets of apartments that are being cited and I understand they are going to have people moving into them at the end of this month and we have two other pieces of property that we’re formerly vacant that are also building apartments,” said Mayor Baker.

The city of Talent lost around 800 homes and around 60 businesses.

“So it’s a year later what has talent accomplished and what work still remains?” said Eleanor Ponomareff with the Talent City Council.

In the march to recovery, the city of Talent shared that the number of single-family homes are rebuilding faster than manufactured homes and apartment complexes. But only 42% of the single-family homes have applied or been issued a rebuilding permit, for manufactured homes that number is just 15%.

One way the community is creating more housing is with the Gateway Transitional Housing Project.

“The Talent Gateway is a four-piece of the publicly owned land on Highway 99 that is slated for future development to include affordable housing commercial and public space,” said Ponomareff.

In early October, 53 fire survivors will be moving into the site. Moving forward, the rebuilding is not complete, but the community continues to take steps forward to becoming more resilient.

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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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