Beginning in October 2020, we partnered with the Oregon American Planning Association (OAPA), advisors from FEMA, and the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program to offer pro bono planning assistance to wildfire-impacted communities. The effort culminated in 2021 with this recovery resource for the City of Talent in Southern Oregon.
During the 2020 wildfire season, Talent was inundated by one of the most destructive fires in Oregon history — the Almeda fire. Jackson County as a whole saw more than 2,500 structures destroyed, and in Talent 37% of properties — both residential and commercial — were directly impacted. Tragically, among the swaths of properties lost were multiple mobile home parks, occupied by the city’s most vulnerable populations.
Leading a team of OAPA volunteers, we developed the Talent Almeda Fire Opportunity Framework, which consolidates information from a variety of sources into a one-stop resource for city staff and future consultant teams. The framework acts as a guidebook for building resilient communities by providing an overview of pre- and post-fire conditions in Talent that includes a special focus on affordable housing typologies, wildfire recovery best practices, and equitable engagement strategies. To inform the discussion around equitable engagement, SERA was joined by students in the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program, who conducted interviews of local community and nonprofit leaders to document community needs and inform future engagement activities.
Read more about the effort: Oregon APA Steps Up to Help with 2020 Wildfire Response — The Western Planner