Meg Upton – [email protected]
For a good portion of this Saturday’s monthly [Re] Build Greenville meeting it was standing room only as Dixie Fire Collaborative members reported out progress regarding this month’s rebuilding efforts. Nearly 150 people were there through out the afternoon.
Arguably the most intriguing portion of the programming was District Attorney Dave Hollister’s presentation of the PG&E Settlement that was reached earlier this week and what that option could mean for various residents.
Hollister made his presentation and made himself available to residents for Q & A afterwards as residents affected by the fire began to weigh their options in either filing for a settlement within the constraints set up or to continue with the individual lawsuits. The general consensus in the room seemed to be that the settlement might offer some benefit to renters who lost the residences they were occupying at the time of the fire. The amounts offered by the PG&E settlement did not seem to play favorably with homeowners or landlords who see the settlement as undervaluing both the properties themselves and the cost of rebuilding in today’s construction market.
Kest Porter with Indian Valley’s Rotary gave a report on the potential pop-up businesses opening up in May in downtown Greenville. He also encouraged those assembled to consider opening businesses downtown in the pop-up district. He also spoke about wood product production and the possibility of opening up the woodshop at Greenville High School for this purpose. Porter suggested that the Dixie Fire Collaborative and Rotary were there to support businesses get off the ground.
Sue Weber via Zoom (co-chair of the Dixie Fire Collaborative) suggested that one of the DFC workshops might be on financial literacy education to help recipients of settlements manage their settlements effectively. Not that many people however showed interest when either Porter or Weber brought up the idea (less than 10 hands raised).
Marsha Roby reported out from the Planning Process meetings conducted the weekend prior. The consultant team found that concerns about rebuilding ran along these lines:
•Preserving historic buildings.
•Integration of Maidu culture in build back plans.
•Strong aversions to chain stores coming into Indian Valley.
•Fire resistant buildings
•Expanding Indian Valley’s economic footprint in the county.
•Desire to attract new residents (young families) and to retain current residents.
•Establishing outreach to other groups working towards recovery.
Roby also commented on the Firewise program, (there were copies of Plumas County Living with Fire in the back of the cafeteria and sign ups for elderly residents to receive help in cleaning up their properties). She also talked of the resuming of the green signs with reflective numbers program so that emergency services have a clear way to identify addresses.
Cindie Froggatt from the county assessor’s office addressed the audience and responded to a few questions regarding assessment of trees on lots (they are not counted in the assessments of residential housing).
The “Share Out” portion of the program consisted of applause for Sue Weber’s work on behalf of the DFC. Crescent Mills resident Ted Stout exclaimed that a comprehensive list of agribusinesses, small farms and ranches in Indian Valley should be made.
One unidentified gentleman got up and announced that “disaster areas should be called bureaucracy free areas” to much applause.
It was announced that J&C Enterprises are nearing completion of the mill site in Crescent Mills—they are simply waiting on a few parts and hope to be open for retail sales soon. There’s a ribbon cutting on May 18 for the mill.
Some residents pressed concerns for pine needle and trash code enforcement on properties adjacent to theirs. Sheriff Todd Johns was on hand to address the issue of code enforcement and also added that in his opinion the Dixie Fire Collaborative consisted of a “small group of individuals killing themselves for our benefit” and suggested that of the 150 gathered, there might be more people who could step up and volunteer their time and efforts. He talked of growing up in Indian Valley when there was a population of 3000.
“Please get involved,” he said.
Most questions and share out time however went back to DA Hollister for clarifications of the settlement. He also met with Indian Valley residents after the meeting one on one to respond to questions. Many people wanted to know whether or not the settlement money would be taxed (no answer but to check with one’s tax attorney or tax preparer). He also clarified for people that the $400 per square foot referred to in the settlement does not include contents, trees, emotional distress—as many of the lawsuits will include. He stressed that applying for the settlement creates an ‘either or situation’ where upon someone agreeing to the settlement would not be able to push a lawsuit going forward.
Residents have 30 days to decide whether to go with the settlement. Information is available at www.dixiefirecollaborative.org for those who want to file or read through the settlement information. Evacuation expenses are also not covered. Claim center kiosks will open throughout the area on May 4.
The meeting ended with lunch prepared by Mary’s German Grill paid for by the Almanor Foundation, (referred to erroneously last week as the Lake Almanor Foundation by this reporter).
Over lunch many residents found themselves discussing how their particular situations did not fall into any easy categories offered by the settlement. Some have burned out buildings and foliage and a damaged but not burnt house. Many of these types of situations have no recourse in the settlement.
The next Innovation Hub meeting will take place on April 30 in the Greenville Elementary School cafeteria.