Holiday farm fire survivors have left hotels to make room for track athletes
EUGENE, Ore. – About nine months after some vacation farm fire survivors moved into hotels in Eugene and Springfield, they were once again forced to move.
That’s because the same hotels that provided temporary accommodation for more than 100 survivors are now making room for athletes competing in major track events, including the Olympic trials.
“Because of COVID, schools, universities didn’t want their athletes to double. They wanted one athlete per room,” said Jeff Gilbert, regional emergency coordinator for the Oregon Department of Social Services (ODHS). “So suddenly it increased the footprint two or three times bigger than it ever would have.”
Moving several times a year has cost many survivors, including Melanie Stanley.
“It was hard to be told that the safe space you had for eight and a half months was now taken away from you,” Stanley said.
Stanley was staying at the Holiday Express Inn in Eugene until early last month when she received a notice telling her she had to go out.
“The hardest part is that there just aren’t any hotels for at least June,” Stanley said. “There are no hotels available in Eugene and Springfield due to contract issues.”
AFTER: TEMPORARY HOUSING IN RAINBOW FOR SURVIVORS OF HOLIDAY FARM FIRES
ODHS is working with two properties in the Eugene / Springfield area to establish a more permanent solution for displaced survivors.
“These are contract negotiations going on right now,” Gilbert said. “It looks like the contracts could be signed quickly.”
The ODHS did not reveal the two properties considered.
Even though the devastating fire occurred last September, Stanley said the rebuilding process was far from over.
“I just want people to realize that we are still fighting,” Stanley said.