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Saginaw Mobile Home Park Gets Appreciative Reception

Date: Thursday, October 11 2018


From left, Laura Bennett and Terry McDonald of SVDP and EPUD's Brandon Gee and Kyle Roadman.
Mobile park magician Gienia Baines converted this donation from the Register-Guard to a little lending library for Saginaw.

Unveiling of rehabbed park pleases funders, community members

Twenty years ago Brandon Gee was hired as a meter reader for Emerald People’s Utility District (EPUD), and for the next nine his monthly route included the Saginaw Mobile Home Park with its motley assemblage of trailers, campers and tarps situated among crumbling or non-existent infrastructure.

Thank You
Bergsund DeLaney Architecture and Planning PC
Meili Construction
Network for Oregon Affordable Housing
Oregon Housing and Community Services
Ford Family Foundation
Emerald People's Utility District
Advanced Energy Systems

It was not one of my favorite places to go,” said Gee, now an Energy Services worker for EPUD. “So to see this happen… for St. Vincent’s to make the effort… you’re happy for the tenants and for the community.”

“This” is a diligent effort by St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County over nearly two years to acquire and rehabilitate the park, and to preserve what affordable housing remains at the remote crossroads that went on the map as the birthplace of Western Oregon’s Booth-Kelly lumber empire. South Lane residents, partners and community representatives gathered in the sunshine October 12 near a freshly bark-mulched playground to admire what’s been accomplished at the Saginaw Mobile Home Park, and to hear what’s planned.

Recent history indicates the incentive among owners to upgrade old, problematic mobile home parks is minimal, and the alternative of selling such properties to high-end developers is attractive – so attractive, in fact, the City of Portland in August adopted an emergency ordinance to halt such sales purely for the purpose of redevelopment. Most mobile-home park residents would find it difficult to impossible to remain in their neighborhoods, possibly their communities, if their parks were closed.

Celebrants included representatives from the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing and Oregon Housing and Community Services, both project funders.

 That's true at Saginaw, which now has the best of both worlds – new ownership with an eye to improving not only the park but the lives of its tenants, and a picturesque, breathable setting that on Oct. 12 sported luscious reds and golds as if to join in the re-opening festivities.

For winter, Saginaw residents can look forward to a working septic system and a roadway that’s free of mud and potholes.”

The septic upgrade was a big plus in itself, said Cottage Grove Mayor Jeff Gowing, adding “(Saginaw) isn’t in town, but it is in our community. I’m glad somebody finally stepped in and did the right thing… made the park livable again.”

The playground features a “rocket” structure capped in periwinkle that points skyward at the end of the Resident Services-Property Management center. When staffed, the center will allow for multiple uses, including laundry, showers and a kitchen.

"I’m glad somebody finally stepped in and did the right thing… made the park livable again.”
-- Mayor Jeff Gowing, Cottage Grove

A backyard set-aside awaits a solar array. Eventually its energy output will offset electricity costs for the residents thanks to a partnership of Advanced Energy Systems and EPUD, the Board of which updated policies to allow such savings pass-throughs.

Mayor Dave Stram of Creswell saw plenty of the Saginaw park while a local pastor for more than 30 years. “We saw what had happened and the terrible conditions,” he said. “I am reminded of the words of Jesus: Whatever you have done unto the least of my brethren, you have done that for me. That’s what's being done here, serving people’s greatest needs.”

Watch this account by KMTR News 16 reporter Stephanie Rothman

The newly installed roadway means less mud in winter, and no potholes!
folks, campers, trees
Saginaw's kids have a place of their own.