6 months after the Camp Fire: Orland Shelters Survivors

The city of Orland has been sheltering 400 Camp Fire survivors.

Posted: May 10, 2019 6:40 PM

The city of Orland is known for its honeybees and small-town charm, but it's also home to some 400 Camp Fire survivors. 

Action News Now spoke with one man who lives in a FEMA trailer at the Glenn County Fairgrounds. Larry Vandeutekom of Concow survived both Hurricane Katrina and the fire, which happened on his birthday. Vandeutekom said he is grateful for the services the city and federal agencies have extended him, but he continues to have difficulty finding permanent housing. 

"People expect you to pay three times the amount of rent, and me being on disability, just doesn't cut it," he explained. 

We asked city officials about plans for more housing in the area.

"Our town, is small town America," said Mayor Bruce Roundy, "and there are good samaritans, open arms, willing to help."

Shortly after the Camp Fire and by the second week in December, space was set aside for 77 FEMA trailers at two properties inside the city. 52 trailers are located on the west end of town at 4490 Commerce Lane, and 25 are located at the Glenn County Fairgrounds. 

"We really welcome the construction of more homes in town as well," said Pete Carr, Orland City Manager. 

Orland is the only city outside of Butte County to join Gridley, Oroville and Biggs to endorse Assembly Bill 430, which would relax certain requirements and allow for the construction of new housing in Camp Fire affected cities.

Carr adds there are 33 additional CHIP homes for low-income families under construction. That project is expected to be done in December this year.

Mayor Roundy says there have been very little reports of crime, fire or sewage impacts since the Camp Fire survivors have moved in. The only visible effect, he says, is a bit of increased traffic on Highway 32. 

Back at the fairgrounds, Vandeutekom says he's just $400 shy of renting out a more permanent solution. His time in the FEMA trailer ends next month.

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