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Help from Habitat for Humanity – Lincoln County

Newport — Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County (HFHLC) recently received a $20,000 emergency response grant from Habitat for Humanity International to help expedite fire debris removal from the Echo Mountain Fire complex in Lincoln City. This funding will be used in partnership with “Quarters for Corners,” a grassroots volunteer effort currently working onsite.

Three months after the Echo Mountain Fire Complex destroyed more than 300 homes in the town of Otis, nearly 200 people are still living in hotels as the holidays approach. Hundreds more are living with family, sleeping in outbuildings like garages and sheds, or camping nearby. Unable to return to their home sites until FEMA is done cleaning up, possibly as late as summer 2021, many want to go home now.

Local residents, anxious for normalcy, began returning to their lots and, with the help of volunteers, have begun the arduous job of clean up themselves. At no cost to owners, the “Quarters for Corners” project is getting landowners out of hotels and back on their properties much sooner than they would have been able to otherwise. By initially working with contractors who had worked with FEMA in previous burn areas, the volunteers have learned and followed every DEQ protocol.

The debris removal project, originally slated for just one week, is now going on its second month. Funded initially by the homeowners themselves, Lincoln County Commissioner Claire Hall successfully lobbied for a $7000 challenge grant from the county and invited other community partners to help support the volunteer efforts on Echo Mountain. HFHLC leveraged this Lincoln County funding in their successful grant application to Habitat International. “The County is thrilled at the results of our challenge grant,” says Commissioner Hall. “This generous funding from Habitat for Humanity is just the kind of thing we had in mind when we allocated the initial funding.”

Grant funds are dedicated to equipment rental and operation, disposal of debris materials, volunteer coordination, supplies, and extending Olalla Center Resource Navigation services through the end of December 2020. The cost of equipment rental and waste disposal alone totals approximately $6,000 a month. Ground FX Landscape Management and Coast Tree Service have donated trucks and crews every Saturday while other costs, such as administration and feeding volunteers three meals a day, have been taken on by others, namely the Salmon River Grange and the Echo Mountain Relief Fund.

Melynda Small, project manager of Quarters for Corners, sees the $20,000 grant from Habitat for Humanity as enabling the completion of two goals. First, it will ensure the project’s “continued efforts in helping our community rebuild and return.” Small, who also lost her home in the fire, believes the grant will serve a second, and larger, purpose — making friends out of strangers. “I’m getting to know my neighbors on a more personal level,” she said. “Honestly I only knew a handful of these amazing people before the cleanup started. I’m so happy I get to call them friends now.”

For more information or to help support the HFHLC mission, please contact Lucinda Taylor at director@habitatlincoln.org or 541.351.8078.

About Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County
Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County is a non-profit organization building homes, community, and hope. We bring together volunteers and community resources to build new residential housing and refurbish existing structures, then sell them to low-income families with an affordable mortgage that meets their income level. We also provide home repairs for low income families to improve safety and accessibility, helping extend the life of the home and allowing owners to age in place.

HFHLC’s ReStores accept donations of building materials, furniture and appliances, and offers them to the community at a low cost. The ReStores provide much needed program revenue, and divert usable and recyclable materials from our local landfill.

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