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Red Lion To Open Next Week For Displaced Wildfire Survivors

Brian Bull

Eugene’s Red Lion Hotel will soon house people displaced by last year’s severe wildfires.  Lane County Human Services has purchased the building through Project Turnkey, a state initiative that funds the purchase of hotels and motels for housing purposes. 

Through Project Turnkey, the Red Lion on Broadway will open its doors to residents of the McKenzie River Corridor whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged by the Holiday Farm Fire. The purchase was officially closed last Friday.  

Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch says it’ll give people a base of operations, as they seek long-term housing. She estimates there are 170 individuals currently sheltered in local hotels and motels.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
EPA workers comb through the rubble of a Blue River home last October.

“So we are looking to find a more stable shelter environment for them, so they’re not constantly being rotated within hotels or find a more stable solution while they can either rebuild or re-evaluate where they’re going to be living in the long term.”

Buch says they expect the Red Lion to open its doors on March 8th.  Right now they’re reviewing applications for the hotel.

“Eventually it could be turned into permanent supportive housing, depending on the funding resources available at that time. I don’t expect that to happen for a while, as there are a lot of barriers for people to rebuild up the river that we’re trying to work through now.”

Homes for Good will provide daily services, including cleaning and janitorial services.  The Red Lion Hotel was purchased with $5.5 million in state funds.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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