The devastating Labor Day fires of last fall ravaged the McKenzie River area, destroying homes that had been there for years. Mother Nature’s wrath took its toll, wiping out Blue River and leaving just chimneys where there were homes and Oregon families.
Now, those displaced homeowners are trying to rebuild and they are finding it difficult to work with Lane County agencies that are more interested in bureaucracy than helping those small communities restore homes and communities upriver. The Lane County Commissioners did the right thing by not charging those displaced homeowners additional fees to rebuild. But Commissioner Heather Buch, who supposedly represents upriver constituents, has been apathetic to her constituents’ concerns re rebuilding.
HB 2289 was supposed to help property owners with red tape. This law was supposed to simplify the planning process so that folks upriver could rebuild as quickly as possible upriver. However, Buch was unwilling to direct staff to fast track and eliminate planning reviews and go straight to building permits for her upriver constituents.
Folks upriver who lost their homes in the horrible fires last fall deserve assistance from county officials to rebuild their homes that were there often for generations. It will give Lane County a black eye nationally if bureaucrats and elected officials don’t do the right thing for their residents in the wake of a local tragedy.