Ribbon-cutting ceremony marks the opening of Almeda Fire survivor housing in downtown Medford

DOWNTOWN MEDFORD, Ore. — A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at The Jackson on Riverside Avenue this afternoon to commemorate the full conversion of the location from a motel to housing units for fire victims.

Only 11 months ago The Jackson was known as America’s Best Value Inn.

Just like the former Inn at the Commons and Ramada Inn, The Jackson has been converted into housing for families devastated by 2020’s Almeda Fire.

Portland-area-based Fortify Holdings is behind all three projects and its president, Ziad Elsahili was in town for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The fact that it’s done and people are going to move in after losing their homes and coming here to move in with short term and long term housing is a wonderful moment for me,” he said.

84-units have been converted at this new location, where Access says at least a dozen fire survivors are already going through the application process.

Security for the new units will be provided by Rogue Community Health, whose C.E.O., William North, says around 4 to 8 staff members will keep an eye on the grounds.

“Really, the most important thing is safety and security for the residents, so we have a number of programs and activities that we’re going to put in place – fencing around the entire outside, limiting access to people coming to the property unless they live here, having people check-in if they want to visit someone,” said North.

He says fire survivors need continued help.

“They are frustrated with the fact it’s taken so long, they’re not getting what they need – but they’re excited about what we’re doing here because they see that we really care, we want to help them,” he said.

Many leaders involved with the project including State Representative Pam Marsh, the Oregon Department of Human Services, and Access were in attendance.

Though these units will provide housing for many fire survivors, the Director of Resilience and Emergency Management for DHS, Ed Flick, says the need for more affordable housing is dire.

“In total, there are over 400 [families/survivors]. We also know that we see only a portion of the affected population in the shelter, we also know there are people being sheltered in the community who benefit from solutions like this,” said Flick.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content