Southern Oregon Radio Show - Panel for Fire Anniversary
Southern Oregon Radio Show Panel Discussion of Fire Anniversary
Full Video Transcription Below
[00:00:00] Alice Lema: Well, good morning, Southern Oregon, and welcome to the real estate show. I'm Alice Lima. I'm here with my cohort, Pete Belcastroboth, brokers. John L. Scott here in Southern Oregon. And we're getting ready to have some rain I hope and maybe get rid of some of this smoke. What do you think, Pete?
[00:00:22] Pete Belcastro: Oh, well look what Hurricane Ida brought. How much rain, how much rain came to the east coast and brought there. And whatwe wouldn't give for a quarter inch of rain here right now, a quarter inch. It's not very much, you know, but boy, it sure would help us now we're into September now. It's been a lost summer. The smoke has been here so long now.
[00:00:44] It's affected so many people, so many things, and for a lot of us, we get used to, but others don't. So it's really, it's tragic. What's happened again this summer and last summer, but, and speaking of loss here, Alice it's a year later, from the Almeda Obenchain, 242 fires, the big three fires from September 8th, 2020.
[00:01:03] Here we are a year later, not celebrating that week, but looking back at that, at that tragic day and see how we're doing a year later. So look forward to to today's show because of it.
[00:01:17] Alice Lema: Now we have a really fabulous panel. Today we're going to be speaking with Kristin Maze of the city of Talent, Ted Zuk from Jackson county, that would be the unincorporated parts that were affected by the fire, and Joe Slaughter from the city of Phoenix. We're so excited to have them on today. What a coup to get all three and that's in thanks to the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors brought them all together for us today. Yeah.
[00:01:41] Pete Belcastro: And, and you get the perspective of what's happening in each of the areas, because each one is developing, coming back from the fire different. And so we're going to hear that. What is the difference? Are people coming back? Is there any commercial activity what's going on? We'll get that update today.
[00:01:55] And I think that's really important that we hear that a year later, when you think about it. I mean, after the fire and everybody, you know, like myself scattered, how many are coming back? Are these people coming back Alice, or are we getting new people into these areas? And are the places that are being replaced, is it exactly the way it's going to be before? Are the manufactured home parks the way they were before, you know what I'm saying? And, or is anything changing, I think, is anything going to come back different than what it was before the fire?
[00:02:25] That's really, to me the the big questions out there that I think a lot of us would like to have an answer for today.
[00:02:31] Alice Lema: And prices, you know first it was the COVID and then it was the fires and the prices just have not, they've kind of slowed a little bit because we're finally getting a little more inventory, but boy, the prices are shockingly higher than they were a year ago.
[00:02:45] Pete Belcastro: Yeah, well there, the, the last week, the average was $485,000. So affordability is still an issue and we'll see where we can take care of that today or not a year later after the fires.
[00:02:56] Alice Lema: We have a great show,, Pete Belcastro, Alice Lema,, do not touch that dial. We'll be right back.
[00:03:02] Welcome back to the real estate show folks. AliceLema here, broker John L. Scott with my co-host Pete Belcastro, both brokers here in Southern Oregon with John L. Scott. And we are so lucky to have a very distinguished panel of guests today discussing the anniversary of the Almeda fire. We have Kirsten Maze, the community development director of the city of Talent. Welcome Kristen. We have Ted Zuk the development services director, building department of Jackson county. Welcome. And Joe Slaughter from the city of Phoenix. He's the community and economic development director. Welcome Joe. So there's been a lot of press and stories and information about the anniversary of the the Almeda fire.
[00:03:48] And before we go into kind of, what's changed in the community, just wanted to acknowledge the amazing response that we had as inter city agencies. It was really quite phenomenal. And so we want to say thank you to all those emergency workers and all the folks from all the different cities and county that jumped in to, to really help at a moment's notice.
[00:04:13] Joe Slaughter: Yeah, I would agree with that. I'd say that, that certainly after the fire, when we all met to, to talk about next steps in recovery as the results of, of you know, loss of life and, and those sorts of things were becoming more fully known. We were all kind of well it was remarkable, I guess, the effectiveness of the first responders to get people out of the homes.
[00:04:35] A lot of people who are elderly and didn't have access to transportation from personal vehicles, et cetera. And yet the, the evacuation was highly successful. Given the dynamic nature of the event and how quickly things moved, the fire moved through the area. So those of us, I guess, that were picking up the pieces after the fact, I guess, as far as looking at what to do next we're just astonished, I guess, by the effectiveness of the emergency response and the first responders.
[00:05:07] Alice Lema: It really was a phenomenal to witness, and the size, the sheer size and scope the fire. We had the Obenchain out in Eagle Point. We had something going on in Central Point, and then we had what was going on in Almeda. It was really, really intense. So here we are a year later Kristin let's talk a little bit about what's going on in the city of talent and, and kind of how you guys are rebuilding.
[00:05:31] Kirsten Maze: So, yeah, I wanted to add on to Joe's comments. It was extremely amazing what happened and that they, that people got out in time. In Talent we had over 700 homes lost and that equals about over 1500 to 2000 people. Residents lost their their homes. So that's just thinking of those numbers alone and getting those people out of there.
[00:05:57] And as Joe mentioned, a lot of them are elderly and didn't have transportation. And then we have another group of people who have are Spanish speaking and don't speak any English. So those people were also out, got out of here in time and were evacuated. And to me that's just incredible.
[00:06:16] I've been in other fire situations and the fact that we didn't have any loss of life in Talent is, is incredible to me. So what Talent is doing really, as we started we kind of were in a position of flux when the fire hit. We have we had to hire a lot of new staff. There was a turnover in staff for different, due to different circumstances.
[00:06:38] As a result, we went ahead and we were establishing some clear permitting processes that we needed to get done. We reached out to different companies various groups like Unity, the school district, Jackson county long term recovery group. So as we all meet Ted and Joe and I, we all meet regularly on, on weekly meetings to discuss the long-term recovery of our communities.
[00:07:03] And then what the city of Talent did is, we wrote an emergency yeah, an emergency, that allows for temporary emergency accommodations, and that's allowing RVs to be put on properties while people rebuild and things like that. We've done. We work with the state and federal agencies to make sure that we are funding and moving forward on our emergency preparedness. And we've reduced quite a bit of our fees, our service development charges and our excise tax fees.
[00:07:33] So those are the few things that talent has done moving forward.
[00:07:38] Alice Lema: Wow. That's that's quite a lot. And I noticed that the building that started, well some of the residents were surprised in Talent that they had multifamily overlays when they went to start their construction. So do you have any thoughts on that?
[00:07:56] Kirsten Maze: So we are getting a lot of people who lost a single family home and they're moving, they're going forward with multifamily with a multi-family dwelling, either duplex, triplex, or quadplex and some even larger. They have that ability and they're going to maximize their property.
[00:08:15] So it's working for them and they're able to capitalize on it. And that's what the zoning allows.. Yeah.
[00:08:21] Alice Lema: So was that a side effect of the state change? A couple of years ago where they were trying to encourage more units?
[00:08:29] Kirsten Maze: I don't know if this area, so I should qualify myself. I have only been with the city of Talent for about two months, maybe going on three months. So I came in after the fire, but so it's my understanding that this was, we have done a lot of rezone updates. And what we've mainly are doing is allowing residences to be built in commercial zones and our highway commercial and our downtown commercial business district. So we're allowing a lot of mixed use development and that's been a new challenge.
[00:08:59] Yeah. So I know the council is very concerned about affordable housing and that's something that we're moving forward with. We're updating our codes. We're in the process currently about updating codes to allow for affordable housing and give incentives for that. But as far as the multifamily, I think that that was a zone that was already established. But they put that in place after the single family homes were developed or people decided just to build a single family. But now they're capitalizing on the fact that they, they have that ability to go multi-family.
[00:09:28] Alice Lema: That's awesome. That will certainly help. Ted in in Jackson county do you have anything to add about the multiple family possibilities after the fire and how that might help our houses?
[00:09:42] Ted Zuk: Well, if I could, I'd like to back up first. Oh Kristen and Joe made remarks on our first responders. They did just an amazing, incredible job out there. We were out there the day after the fire and just the devastation was just as everybody knows, it was, it was an incredible job they did with the devastation that was out there.
[00:10:04] I'd like to also say that, you know, some of the things on the community development departments that we all run, although we're not first responders some of the things that needed to be done were really good damage assessment which was right after the fires.
[00:10:18] All the communities pulled together. City of Phoenix, city of Talent, city of Medford, city of Ashland, Josephine county, Jackson county, Grants Pass all brought people into it. And they were the building inspectors and the planning department personnel, fire folks that were on a prevention side, if you will and did a damage assessment in 10 days. Incredible feat that was over 3,600 properties that were visited all weren't damaged of course, but that's that was something where we pulled together. Where it wasn't something that was normally, normally in our purview, what we would do. But we pulled together as a community afterwards.
[00:11:01] So where we are now with the with the rebuild, we first had to have the debris cleanup. And that's just about a hundred percent complete and the Obenchain area, which the first step to being able to rebuild. And in the Obenchain this is unincorporated county. This isn't the city of Phoenix or city of Talent. About 50% of the damage from the fire was in unincorporated Jackson county. There were 1,132 homes that were either destroyed or major damage. Out of those we had a hundred, we have 159 permits that are in right now under construction. A lot of that was because they needed to get the debris out of the way first. But they're starting to come in pretty fast now.
[00:11:42] We had 77 commercial structures that were destroyed. We had 31 permits. And so that's about 40% that are under construction for the commercial. Which is a good number to have at this point.
[00:11:54] We talked to other people from like paradise fires and Butte county and stuff. We are ahead of the curve there. So it's something to be something to be proud about.
[00:12:03] The commercial structures, obviously a lot of them had better insurance than some of like the manufactured home parks. So that's where you see that the 40% are under construction and they also had the ability to get the jumpstart debris removal. Where a lot of residential structures waited for FEMA and ODAT health to come in and take care of that.
[00:12:22] On the Obenchain fire, we had 49 that were either destroyed or had major damage. And 19 of those permits are issued. So we're 39% construction up there to the rebuilds going. It's fairly robust. Just to give you a perspective on that for a certificate of occupancy, there's been five that have been issued already.
[00:12:41] So 10% has been rebuilt and people are back into their homes, at least in the Obenchainfire.
[00:12:46] Alice Lema: So getting a certificate of occupancy means they're done they're in.
[00:12:50] Ted Zuk: Yes. Okay.
[00:12:52] Pete Belcastro: And there's a whole lot, of course that are permitted and are not going to get going because of shortages on materials and contractors and everything else. So, yeah all these permits you're issuing, you know, you guys are not being built at the moment. But some are, and we're seeing a lot of that. Here's what happened at the other fires, and this is why I want to get your guys's comments on this. Especially from Joe, maybe in Phoenix, because that's where I lived and that's where I lost my place.
[00:13:16] But it seems like when fires happen and Alice and I have both had clients who are fire victims from the Paradise Fire, Redding, you name it. They're all, they all kind of came here and now we're scattered again. But a lot of people don't come back. And I'm curious, it's encouraging to hear the numbers that you're saying that you're ahead of the other places. Because they've really struggled and in Paradise in places like that.
[00:13:37] So to hear that, that's nice. What about the, are you guys getting more interest? Is it the local people coming back, if they sold some of these places? Or who is doing this? Is it people returning or what are you hearing and what are you seeing in the field actually on this particular area?
[00:13:55] Joe Slaughter: Yeah, well, we haven't necessarily tracked that. And I mean, ownership is a little easier to track down than rental status. But from an ownership standpoint kind of anecdotally, I guess the people that we're dealing with primarily at our front counter are the people who lost their homes and are rebuilding. There are some people who will tell us, well, we bought this lot and now we're looking to build a house on it.
[00:14:15] But I would say probably in the ballpark of 80 to 90% of the people who are building houses are people that are rebuilding their houses. And now we're also at about 70% permits out for the single family homes that were lost. So there's that 30% we haven't talked to anybody on this properties yet. And I suspect that a higher percentage of those will be people that are buying the lots and building a house that didn't live there before.
[00:14:43] But up to this point, the single family homes, mostly I would say, are being rebuilt by people who lost to houses for a total of over 50%. I would say, I mean, there's going to be some turnover without a doubt, but mostly that's what we're seeing so far.
[00:14:58] Alice Lema: Got to take a quick break. Word from our sponsors. Please do not touch that dial. We have an amazing panel talking about the Almeda fire. We'll be right.
[00:15:07] Well, welcome back to the real estate show. I'm Alice Lema here with Pete Belcastro. We're both brokers at John L. Scott here in Southern Oregon, and we have a round table conversation going with some of our representatives of the local municipalities and also Jackson county.
[00:15:23] We've got Kirsten Maze. Community development director, city of Talent. We have Ted Zuk development services, director, building department, Jackson county. We have Joe Slaughter community and economic development director, city of Phoenix. And right before the break, we were talking with Pete about some of the numbers of the permits and people moving into their house. And Joe, you were just finishing a thought about what was going on in the city of Phoenix.
[00:15:54] Joe Slaughter: Yeah. Well mentioned a little bit about the people who were rebuilding single family homes. Now that the issue of people who lost their the residents in an apartment complex or possibly a mobile home park the, the parks, I think are, we're mostly been hearing that they're going to be more expensive. Both from a space rental standpoint and probably from a home ownership standpoint, that people lost homes that could have been you know, decades old. And they're being replaced with brand new homes. And so the cost of that home was more, you know, it was more expensive.
[00:16:28] And then Then the space rent is going up because now there's some major improvements being done in some of these parks that are impacted in Phoenix.
[00:16:37] Our largest park used to be known as Bear Lake Estates, 210 units in there completely destroyed a hundred percent. So all 210 units and then the clubhouse every part of the park.
[00:16:49] So they're rebranding. They're calling themselves Oak Ridge, now. And transitioning from a 55 and over park to a family park. They're putting in new amenities, swimming pool, clubhouse, et cetera, to be a family park. And so I fully expect that there will be a lot of new residents there and that there will be a lot of the people we used to live there that will never come back.
[00:17:09] At the same time, I think that a lot of those people have left the area already and are already just relocated somewhere else anyway. So even if you were to offer that, that space back to them, I'm not sure that they would be interested in coming back to that same space. So I think the, the issue of whether we're getting new people or retaining and replacing homes with people who were there before, it's going to be a mixed bag. You know, percentage wise, it's really tough to forecast.
[00:17:33] I think from the single family home standpoint, you're going to see more of that probably than you will from somebody who lost a space in their apartment complex or a home in a manufactured home park. But you know, we're not necessarily trying to control for that. I mean, there's, there's legislation and laws, I guess I should say that prohibit you from picking and choosing who tenants are.
[00:17:55] I mean, it may sound cold and one way to say that, you know, somebody who was displaced from a fire. So now, you know, you're not allowed to give them priority. Now when they're looking for a new apartment complex coming online, but that's the reality of it. There's fair housing laws that talk about who you rent to and how you, you select those tenants, et cetera.
[00:18:16] So it's going to beyond our purview, but those are the kind of the realities of the situation when you're looking at a leasing space to somebody.
[00:18:25] Pete Belcastro: You know, we've done shows with literally all your bosses and different people in all, all three jurisdictions. And it's come down, you know of where, of what, what did we do next?
[00:18:36] I mean, the affordability thing that we talked about, maybe making some really interesting housing choices in some of the big areas in Jackson county that are out there that are, that were burned as well as in the city of Phoenix. So really it's tricky here. Joe, that Phoenix, I liked the fact that that Bear Lake Estates is going to be a a family park.
[00:18:53] I was there. I was there and I agree most of those 210 are scattered, long gone. I like the idea of a family park. The affordability of it, certainly for seniors is going to be out, but that's an alternative and that's kind of, kind of, I like that. What about some of the other areas? Are there, are there other unique things that we have this wonderful opportunity in all three areas, Talent, Phoenix, and Jackson county, or to create something different out of this fire?
[00:19:16] Are you guys satisfied the way we're going or would you like to see something different that we can do? To, to help the affordability issue, because that's what Phoenix and Talent were were in that whole area. And all of a sudden, we're going to turn it into something else.
[00:19:30] Kirsten Maze: Well, as far as Talent is concerned, we are promoting the affordability.
[00:19:35] We are changing, working on updating our codes to create incentives for affordability. I know that it's been done in other communities and it's difficult to do. And it sometimes backfires on communities too to mandate affordability. But I think it's important that at least we make an attempt to create that affordability with developers to encourage them to, to build affordable housing by giving them whatever incentives are possible, higher density, tax breaks, whatever is possible that we can do.
[00:20:08] And I think that's something that Talent is definitely moving forward with. And we are committed to creating affordable housing. As I mentioned before, we'd like to do that in our commercial zone districts. There's a proposed affordable housing, 72 unit affordable housing unit that's being in the process right now in the city of Talent.
[00:20:27] And then of course, as Joe mentioned, we have the mobile home parks. And they're difficult because they will be going up in price. The units are difficult to find right now there and in our case we have a huge park that's in our flood plain. So that's another added issue.
[00:20:44] Pete Belcastro: Well, the reason of affordability is it's so big in Jackson county, the last six weeks, the median price has been right around that $500,000 level. And you know most of the sales are 350 below 500,000. And not above that, you know? So that's the, if that's the issue that so many people I think are concerned about is, is in those price ranges of what is being rebuilt.
[00:21:08] It's going to be unattainable for so many people who need that. We don't have any, we need more condos. We need more types of smaller places, things like that. And that's what I'm not hearing is being proposed or even being put out there much right now. I hope that's, I hope that will change.
[00:21:25] Ted Zuk: If I can jump in on that from the county's perspective, we don't have a lot of areas that are multifamily zoned. That's more of a city function. And you can tell the difference between city and county function that way. But there are areas that are coming into the UGB for both city of Phoenix and city of Talent. And I'll, I'll let Kristen, or Joe speak more on what that zoning might look like.
[00:21:50] But that's something that could, could benefit moving forward. There's also other things that we don't control from a community development department and that's things like you mentioned earlier, the materials and labor getting the contractors. And contractors are going to build what is profitable for them.
[00:22:06] They're a private business and that's, that's what they do. We can't necessarily dictate that from a local level on what you can and can't build. We can only try to help that the zoning accommodates that. There are other things out there also legislatively. For the manufactured home parks, you know, getting a manufactured home right now, as I understand is a year and a half, two years out, even having a manufactured home come in.
[00:22:33] So there there's tools that you know, the legislator legislatures gave us some help with, with things like you can now use a modular home in a manufactured home park. I believe there's somewhere around 150 that are on order that will be coming to the area, whether they go into manufactured, home parks or not it's not something that we would control. But we now have the ability to allow them. So that those are some of the ways that we're working to try and help guide the guide to future.
[00:23:01] But it is, it is a private sector thing to build what you're allowed to build.
[00:23:08] Pete Belcastro: I think I've just seen where Oregon has the new rules, which California is by the way following, where now you can build multi-units on a single family lots, if they meet certain conditions. Have any of the applications that you've seen in Phoenix, Talent or even in the counties, has any of those included any of that?
[00:23:25] Multi-units on single family, lots or just, it's just straight single family housing, have you, have you seen?
[00:23:32] Joe Slaughter: Well, we've seen some of that. And I think what Kirsten was talking about with even some of the zoning changes that occurred in Talent prior to the fire occurring, that there, the city had already looked at ways that they could I guess, add some flexibility to the redevelopment of some of these properties.
[00:23:46] And allow for some higher density housing, you know, much like the duplex triplex, fourplex that could be condominiumized or whatever else. I mean, trying to give some options or how people could develop in a way that's more affordable. And so that was already happening pre fire. And I believe that both cities have been working post-fire day to even kind of accelerate that process of opening up some more lands for different types of housing developments.
[00:24:10] We relaxed our accessory dwelling unit standards immediately after the fire to try and make it more attainable for people to have to put it, use it as they're rebuilding single family homes. And we've seen a few people take advantage of that, but I would say that it's not a game changer in the number of units out there, but there are a few people that are building to use with their single family homes.
[00:24:30] Kind of an exciting thing that we're seeing in Phoenix. By allowing for residential development in some of our commercial zones, we are now seeing two different complexes one for 55 units and one for 82 units that are proposed on that commercial zone that couldn't have been allowed before that change.
[00:24:50] And so we're talking four and five story buildings in the commercial zone with 82 and 55 units. So we're looking at adding a significant number of, of dwelling units to our inventory, which I've, I've always kind of said that you can't get affordability without available. I think as real estate professionals, you see that that is the shorter, the supply gets the higher, the price goes.
[00:25:13] So we're really working hard to just try and get housing period across all levels, all types and make it available for people to live.
[00:25:23] Pete Belcastro: Were those apartments you're talking about, those developments?
[00:25:29] Joe Slaughter: They're yes, they are apartments. Yes. It's possible somebody could condominiumized them later, but that hasn't been the proposal at this point.
[00:25:37] Pete Belcastro: Why do you, why do you think we don't have condos? You know, larger cities have lots of condo developments around and I'm always amazed at really Medford. We don't have a lot of condo developments around. They seem to be really popular every place else. Do you know why is that, would that help our situation?
[00:25:54] Joe Slaughter: Yeah, I think it might. You know, in Phoenix we actually lost two complexes that were condo complexes, both about 20 units, a piece one off of Daniel drive and one off main street, 610main street. And the 610 main street project is being rebuilt. There's 20 units in there, and those are individual owner occupied or not necessarily occupied, but owned units.
[00:26:13] So it's something that happens as far as why you don't see it more often. I mean, it's more of a real estate slash legal process to condominium a building, as opposed to a land use process.
[00:26:23] But I think cities are working more towards allowing pad lot developments and the, like that would maybe make that a little simpler for people to have shared walls, but have individual ownership. So there's things we could do to make it easier.
[00:26:38] But I think also you just, haven't seen land values, go up to the point where these sorts of projects pencil for the developers. So that's why you don't see condos here, probably quite as much as you see in a market like Seattle or San Francisco or something like that, where, you know, it's a, it's a different dynamic who's looking for what and what people are willing to pay for here.
[00:26:59] Or they might not be willing to pay the money for it just yet, because that's not what they're living in Southern Oregon for necessarily. But I think things are changing.
[00:27:06] Pete Belcastro: And those are great starter homes. So we encourage you to keep doing that, right. Alice?
[00:27:10] Alice Lema: Absolutely. And we're going to have to take a quick break here. We're brought to you today by the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors. We want to just mention, we've speaking with Kristin Maze city of Talent ,Ted Zuk Jackson county and Joe Slaughter city of Phoenix, Pete Belcastro, Alice Lema.We'll be right back after a word from the sponsors. Don't go.
[00:27:30] Well, welcome back to the real estate show everybody I'm Alice Lema here with Pete Belcastrowe're both brokers at John L. Scott here in Southern Oregon. And we have a really wonderful conversation going round table style with Kirsten Maze, the community development director of the city of Talent, Ted Zuk, the development services director, building department inJackson county and Joe Slaughter, the community and economic development director, the city of Phoenix. And we're recapping the Almeda fire and where we go from here. So what do you think the biggest challenge was when all of this happened this whole last year?
[00:28:06] I just love to hear kind of looking back each of you, his perspective of, of what the challenges were and how we're going to move forward.
[00:28:15] Ted Zuk: I'll jump in on that. I wouldn't say it's a challenge, but I would say one of the things that if there was any kind of silver lining I know who my colleagues are now.
[00:28:24] I know from the city's side or who everybody is and they know they know us and we have become a pretty cohesive group. Well, you know, like Kirsten was saying, we meet once a week, sometimes more. We're always on zoom meetings with each other. And I have to say that, you know, it's, it's nice not to be working in your own little silo, doing your own little thing and know what everybody else is doing from a regional perspective.
[00:28:52] That's, that's a good thing. So.
[00:28:57] Kirsten Maze: Yeah, I agree with Ted that it's been for me, especially I'm com because I'm from out of the area and have just recently got here. It's really nice to be able to connect with the other planners and all the agencies that have to do with the region. It's been, it's been really helpful.
[00:29:14] As far as Talent I don't know that we've had any challenges other than making sure that we're, we're getting, building permits out on time. And I have to say that we contract with the county. So the county is very helpful in getting that going for us and making sure that that's happening.
[00:29:27] So one, one other reason that we worked so closely together. So, but I think that. It's been a, it's been a, really, a real good learning experience. There's a lot more to get done and we're all, I think we're all very committed to making sure, as Joe mentioned that we provided adequate housing, a variety of housing, I think Pete was asking about condos.
[00:29:48] We I wouldn't doubt that Phoenix does the same thing as we allow for attach a dwelling units that are actually on separate lots. So that's similar to as, as you mentioned it as pad lot ownership. So we do have versions of condos. It's not an exact condo, cause it's, it's more than you're owning more than the airspace, but there are different options in the cities and in the counties.
[00:30:13] But I think we're all very committed to making sure those options are available to everybody.
[00:30:19] Joe Slaughter: Well, I'mgoing to say challenges I think immediately is just land supply. So, I mean, the city of Phoenix has been in the process for quite a while to expand its' urban growth boundary. And that's something we're, we're working on as often as we can find time to work on it.
[00:30:35] But obviously we've got a lot of other things going on as well, but that's, it's critically important for the city of Phoenix to build, to expand it's urban growth boundary and to bring in some more land. Urbanizable so that we can provide for needed housing for economic development.
[00:30:49] The city of Phoenix through the regional problem solving process was given an area known as the valley employment center off of exit 24. And you know, we're looking at possibly bringing in roughly 200 acres of land that's meant to be a regional employment center. So I mean, jobs are critical.
[00:31:08] We want to be able to get employers here and we need to get land for housing. That area of unincorporated Jackson county, that Ted discussed, being you know, outside of Phoenix and outside of Medford, that there on highway 99, that's all part of our urban reserve. And we needed to bring it into our urban growth boundaries.
[00:31:23] So then we can help guide the redevelopment and the urbanization, I guess, reurbanization of that area. Because that's, that's more the business that we're in and a little bit less of the business that Ted's in. And he's working in, in rural land development primarily. And we're looking at at city developments.
[00:31:40] That's a challenge, but there's also opportunities that come from that as well. And then the opportunity standpoint, I'd say that we have interest in Phoenix that we've never had before. We have people coming and asking questions and looking to develop things here that we haven't had in the past.
[00:31:56] And so I think this is an opportunity for us to capture the attention of people and then show them something that that's worth seeing here in Phoenix. And we're, we're hoping that we're going to hit that tipping point pretty quickly here with some of these new things coming to town. And that people will be more excited to develop in Phoenix.
[00:32:14] And we're looking at all kinds of, you know, commercial, industrial, residential, everything to just help the community across the board. And I think that this, this disaster was preventing or even just providing an opportunity to be something different. And maybe a little bit more desirable, I guess, to a lot of the community in the end.
[00:32:32] Kirsten Maze: I would like to mention one challenge that we're having is, and that's the price of lots. People have significantly increased the price of their lots in the city of talent. And so for people looking for land, it becomes a little bit more difficult because of the cost of development and the cost of buying the lot.
[00:32:53] Alice Lema: And Pete and I have been watching that happen first during the shutdown because of the COVID and then in the aftermath of the fires. And and then people pay those prices. And that's why, you know, when Pete's saying that we have an average of $500,000 for a home now. It'll be interesting to see as all these other properties finally get developed and come online. What happens to the prices when we have more supply, especially in the affordable sector. Because so many of the working like the trades, like we have trouble getting people to do construction work. And some of the trades, so many of them live down there.
[00:33:32] Kirsten Maze: Yeah. That's really difficult.
[00:33:37] Pete Belcastro: Okay, well, sum it up this way today. Here we are a year later from the fire which was this week last year. And, you know, we've come a long way when you think about the mess that was left there and the debris that had to be removed. And y'all did an amazing job watching that take place and to see most of it, as you say, cleaned up now and people starting to rebuild.
[00:34:00] So that is happening. The Phoenix is, is being, you know, coming back alive again. And where do you go from here you know, is really going to be a sort of very important steps. And always keep in mind, you know, people need to have housing and own home ownership and affordability. And that's the thing that I think in 12 years of doing this show and 600 plus shows, Alice,we'd always talked about is the affordability thing, because what happens with people that get forced out of our communities.
[00:34:25] It was so sad about this Phoenix. Now it was an area where people came and and hopefully that's not going to lose it. So best of luck to you. In getting and keeping that housing and affordability thing for people who want home ownership here, or are we going to be in real trouble? So best of luck to you all. Thank you for what you're doing, because you've got a big job ahead of you and where everybody's watching what's going on.
[00:34:47] And it's amazing to see what is actually being rebuilt now. And we look forward to seeing next year, how far we'll come again in another year.
[00:34:57] Alice Lema: Well, we'd certainly love to have you back. Thank you so much all of you. Our panel is Kirsten Maze from City of Talent, Ted Zuk, Jackson county, Joe Slaughter from the city of Phoenix just discussing the year behind, the aftermath and the Almeda and housing in Southern Oregon. And what's coming in very exciting news about the commercial, because we did lose a substantial number of businesses and in all those areas, didn't we, so thank you so much.
[00:35:23] This broadcast will be repeated tomorrow on Sunday 6:00 PM. We want to thank our sponsors, the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors, John L. Scott here in Southern Oregon and Guy Giles Mutual of Omaha mortgage. Thanks again to our panel. We'll see you again next week. Bye folks.