Renaissance Flats opens in Talent, aimed at helping Almeda Fire survivors

TALENT, Ore.– A new affordable housing complex had its grand opening in Talent today.

It aims to re-house Almeda Fire survivors and dozens of families have already applied.

Renaissance Flats is partnering with Unete and ACCESS to help Almeda Fire survivors and the Latino community in Talent.

Renaissance Flats’ official grand opening is a milestone in Talent’s recovery since the Almeda Fire.

Residents have been moving into the new housing complex since October, including Justin Luke, who is the first to live in Renaissance Flats.

“The fire came and took out everything that I owned and my whole family got displaced,” Luke said, “if it wasn’t for…. the ACCESS program that’s been so kind to us, and it’s helped us out so far. I’m almost at the point of complete self-sufficiency because of them.”

The developers behind the project, Commonwealth Development Corporation, partnered with Unete to help get Latino families into the apartments.

Kathy Keesee from Unete said around 70 to 80% of residents who have moved into the complex so far are Latino.

Unete said around 13% of Talent’s population is Latino and the Almeda Fire disproportionately affected the Latino community.

Keesee said, “being able to have a safe place to raise their children again, to be able to cook, to be able to send their children back to schools here in town, it’s just a huge blessing for the community.”

Local politicians like State Senator Jeff Golden and State Representative Pam Marsh were among the local dignitaries at the grand opening.

Senator Golden said he wasn’t sure if the community would be able to recover from the Almeda Fire.

But projects like the Renaissance Flats show how far we have come in the last three years.

Golden said, “I think we need to commit ourselves to broadening this model of giving more authority and more clout to the community organizations who really understand what’s going on.”

Talent Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood said the complex represents the community coming together to help friends and neighbors who were displaced by the fire.

She’s grateful for all of the hard work from the community that made Renaissance Flats possible.

Ayers-Flood said, “in my mind, there’s no greater sacrifice, and no greater commitment to our community than those folks who have been waiting to come back home.”

Commonwealth Development said they received funding for another 72 unit development in Phoenix.

That complex will be called ‘Pacific Flats’.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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