LINCOLN CITY — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has walked away from using the Fernwood property owned by Lincoln City for its temporary housing project for victims of the Echo Mountain Complex fire. FEMA is instead looking to set up at the Logan Road RV Park, owned by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.
FEMA media relations specialist Jeremy Hollen confirmed the selected property had changed, but did not confirm Logan Road as the new location.
“As of right now, we are negotiating a lease on a privately-owned parcel of land. This will be a group site able to hold 21 mobile homes to provide temporary housing to those that have been displaced in the county,” an email from Hollen to the News-Times read.
Lincoln City City Attorney Richard Appicello told the city council during its Monday night meeting that FEMA decided the 20-acre Logan Road property was better suited for the project than Fernwood to accommodate the full scope of the construction.
The council approved a resolution that would allow the construction on tribal property in the city with approval by the property owner. Appicello noted the property was not in a trust and was therefore subject to city regulations and required the council’s authorization, which wouldn’t waive any of the city’s environmental regulations.
Councilor Diana Hinton said the Logan Road property was one of the early suggestions she offered FEMA for the project. Councilor Rick Mark said he thought using the existing infrastructure at Logan Road would be a much better option than trying to develop the 6.5-acre Fernwood property and finding an additional spot. City Manager Ron Chandler said the change likely made more financial sense for FEMA.
FEMA Region 1 Chief of Logistics Scott Erickson previously told the council during its Dec. 14 meeting that FEMA had identified the Fernwood property as the area’s most conducive to host victims of the recent wildfires, and that if FEMA and the city had entered a lease agreement, construction could have begun immediately and FEMA could have completed 15 housing units within three weeks.
Lincoln County Commissioner Kaety Jacobson told the News-Times that FEMA had been looking for additional property to Fernwood to fulfill the full scope of the housing project and during its search identified Logan Road as a better overall location.
Requests for additional information by News-Times staff from Lincoln City and the Siletz Tribe did not receive a response before Thursday’s press deadline.