County helps Santiam Canyon residents rebuild after fire

Linn County has distributed more than $88,000 to assist homeowners use fire-retardant materials when rebuilding homes in the Santiam Canyon affected by the Labor Day 2020 wildfires, county commissioners learned Tuesday, May 10, at their weekly meeting.

These funds, provided by the Oregon Building Codes Division, are earmarked to help property owners with materials — such as metal roofing — Building Official Steve Wills told Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker.

According to Wills, 22 of 34 applications have been approved. Ten were denied for a variety of reasons and two, valued at $3,200, are pending.

Wills said Linn County has received $8,470 in administrative fees from the program.

Alyssa Boles of Planning and Building said the county has also waived about $112,000 in building permit fees for families rebuilding in the canyon.

To learn more about the-fire hardening program, visit oregon.gov/bcd/Pages/firehardening.aspx.

In other business, the commissioners:

— Approved an agreement between the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and the Sweet Home Fire & Ambulance District. Linn County will fully stock four emergency medical services bags/kits for the Search and Rescue Team at a cost of about $6,000. The county will restock the kits as materials are expended.

— Accepted proposed Special Transportation Fund grant requests for FY 2021-22 totaling $315,521. They include Lebanon Dial-A-Bus, $45,000; Sweet Home Dial-A-Bus, $25,000; Linn Shuttle, $98,000; COG Senior/Disability Service, $18,000; Volunteer Caregivers, $53,261; Oregon Mennonite Residential Services, $6,500; Sunshine Industries, $29,760; Albany Dial-A-Bus, $25,000.

— Welcomed new Transportation Director Reagan Maudlin, who succeeds temporary director Ken Bronson, of Sweet Home, who took the position on an interim basis last winter.

— Were told that 252 building permits were issued in April, including 11 for dwellings: eight single-family and three manufactured homes.

— Approved allowing Rob Perkins of the Juvenile Department to participate on a Criminal Justice Targeted Pathway Project workforce advisory board.

— Approved the purchase of a $254,462 CXT shower/restroom unit to be placed at Sunnyside County Park. The funds will come from an Oregon State Parks Department grant.

— Approved an agreement with Brownsville’s Pioneer Christian Academy that would allow the Linn County Sheriff’s Office to use its facilities as a temporary shelter and emergency site. The county would reimburse the Academy for any supplies used.

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer