Short updates were given by representatives from many agencies.
Town of Paradise – Lauren Gill, Town Manager
Thanks to all the agencies here to update and connect with residents.
The Town has hired a new recovery manager: Laura Page – used to work for Congressman LaMalfa. She started work a week ago. She will be working on the projects of the Long-Term Community Recovery Plan, including writing grant proposals, etc. The Town is very lucky to have her.
The most frequently asked question the Town hears is about standing burnt trees – Cal OES/FEMA will address later in the program (which is to say they are working on addressing the Town’s request for a program). Please address imminently hazardous trees immediately with a licensed contractor, but know that a program is in the works for those that can wait.
The Town wants to hear from residents to make sure they are meeting the needs of residents.
The Town is working on abatement for debris removal – less than 100 properties that didn't sign up for Cal OES or alternative program – have already sent courtesy notices after attempting to call, from there the process is to send a notice of violation, if there is no response, the Town will go to court and get permission to go on property and clear debris.
The Town recently received keys for old Bank of America building on Skyway, which was donated to the Town by Bank of America. It will become the Building Recovery Center – they are calling it the BRC “brick” Building – a one stop shop for all rebuilding needs in Town. As of now, they are crammed into back of Town Hall.
Looks like things are on track to have 500 building permits issued by end of year. Over 100 applications are in plan check, 186 permits have been issued.
The Town is open Monday through Friday 8-5, even though the outgoing voicemail message says they are closed on Fridays, they will change that message soon.
Ambulance, Police, and Fire services are available on the Ridge.
Paradise Police Department – Lieutenant Anthony Borgman – in for Chief Reinbold
Non-Emergency # 530-872-6241
Paradise Police Department (PPD) thanks the efforts of the Camp Fire Zone Project – community members are encouraged to establish neighborhood watch programs within the zones, residents and property owners are encouraged to get-to-know and keep in contact with their Zone Captain. The Zone Captains have also done community building within zones. The Zone Project has been great in terms of community side of things and have direct relationships with PPD. Neighbors are also working together to keep an eye out for each other. If you living on Ridge, know your neighbors, keep eyes out for each other. If you see suspicious activity, call or flag down an officer if one drives by. One silver lining is that we will have the opportunity to know our neighbors better moving forward. There have been thefts, but the rate is lower than it was pre-fire. Lock your things up, set up surveillance if not able to occupy property. The PPD appreciates the Town’s support for lateral recruitment opportunity. PPD is interviewing candidates, getting ready to do background checks, they are excited to have new officers join the force soon.
Butte County – Sherry McCracken in for Casey Hatcher
The County has started abatement for debris removal – 48 property owners – notices have been sent out and those property owners have until 9/11/19 to appeal before continue process of getting approval to clean up.
County is currently set up in the Paradise Branch of Library taking permit applications – from within the burn area, 120 build permit applications have been submitted, 47 permits have been issued, and 1 certificate of occupancy has been issued. Also submissions/issuances in each of those categories from outside the burn area.
The County thanks the Town of Paradise for the offer to co-locate in the Building Recovery Center BRC “brick” building (formerly Bank of America) once it is ready. There are available campsites at Lime Saddle Marina and other area locations that were set aside to house Camp Fire displaced folks.
Correction to recent mis-information: the shelters are not closing at end of August, they have extended approval to keep them open through the end of October, but are evaluating need every month.
FEMA – David Samaniego
Four Group Sites for FEMA Trailers (Gridley, Oroville, two in Chico) with capacity for nearly 500 temporary housing structures have been set up to house Camp Fire displaced people that meet eligibility requirements. There are also 350 pads in 19 RV parks throughout Northern California.
Last week they received request from the State, County, and Town of Paradise for a program to remove standing burnt trees. Program is in the works, no details yet, but he plans to maximize the effort to the best of his ability.
Cal OES – Dena Wilson – Debris Incident Commander
An overview of progress was given. Over 3 million total tons of debris will be removed - likely completed by the end of September. For some perspective (although the details were far different), the volume of debris removed after September 11, 2001 was about 1.8 million tons of debris, and it took 8 months. The Camp Fire debris removal teams have almost doubled the pace, and work stood down here for more than 45 days due to weather during that time! Cal OES will be working with other states and nations to review how this has been done to establish best practices that could benefit others.
Paradise Irrigation District – Kevin Phillips
Thanks again to everyone for their patience. 306 letters of potability have been issued (48 of which were deemed potable after service line replacements). If a standing home has any VOC contaminant detected > maximum contamination level (MCL), PID will replace the service line automatically. One line replacement is a full day’s work for a crew. 40 addresses are in their queue for review.
Interim Water – ramped up crews to focus on this project; PID hired 6 new FT employees, plus 11 from the Alliance for Workforce Development (AFWD). 444 back-flow prevention assemblies have been installed to restore Interim Water service, 367 are left to install (to date). PID is hoping to catch up in next few weeks. They understand this is a big need, especially during the summer.
The next PID Community Meeting is scheduled for Monday 9/16, at which they will give an update on sampling results data, testing, Gina Solomon from UCSF has received grant to help homeowners test their own plumbing. She will update the community with the plan for that at the 9/16 meeting.
PG&E – Dan Blair
Undergrounding distribution lines begun within town. >1400 apps for temporary power have been received thus far.
A video explaining the process for obtaining temporary power was shown and can be viewed at the bottom of this link.
Mosquito and Vector Control – Matt Ball
West Nile Virus has been very active in the valley throughout California this season, but so far it hasn’t been detected within the burned area. Continue to notify them of standing water – empty pools, septic tanks open, etc. The more helpful the community, the safer it can be. Also keep in mind as the rains return, when wild grasses turn green, disease-carrying ticks will be coming out. Continue to wear repellent, DEET is most effective.
Paradise Unified School District – Tom Taylor
Happy to report a successful start to the school year back on the Ridge. It wouldn’t have happened without all the support from the community. This year, buildings received new paint and furniture, new updated technology featuring 1:1 devices (each student has access to an electronic device for learning), additional counselors are at all schools to help with trauma impacts, new PHS gym will be built –thanks to fellow Assistant Superintendent David McCready for pushing this through - expect it will be started very soon.
Daily attendance numbers by school (measured by actual attendance on a random school day): Ridgeview High School: 68 students in attendance , Paradise Junior/Senior High School (grades 7-12) 777 students in attendance, plus 77 students in online e-Learning, Cedarwood (K-6) attendance ~250, Pine Ridge (K-6) attendance – 171, Paradise Ridge Elementary – combo of Ponderosa/Paradise Elementary (TK-6), attendance is ~340. Have 130 certificated teachers (was ~200 pre-fire), 132 classified staff (was ~200 pre-fire)
Total enrollment (those registered to attend all schools, not necessarily same as actual attendance) is 1742 students (51% of pre-fire). Attendance is how the schools are paid – students showing up – but total enrollment is at 1742 – PUSD was told by disaster experts to expect 33% enrollment this year, but it is over 50%! This is HUGE!! 😊 It wouldn’t have happened without commitments of staff, community.
Butte-Glenn 211 – Tara Sullivan-Hames
Review of 211 services, a gateway for individuals to connect with various types of help. Live 24 hour telephone help line to connect with free or low cost services. Can call, text, or go online to connect with services and learn more about them. Location in Chico, but 211 serves all Camp Fire survivors no matter to where they have relocated.
Services have largely shifted to recovery. Basic needs with which they can help: food, water, propane, gas, transportation, mental health services, emerging financial assistance services. Currently intake for disaster case management and emergency financial assistance programs. Community queue will assign a case manager to a person or family – access by calling 211 or filling out online intake form. Currently there is a wait-list for case manager assignment due to limited case manager availability.
Keep in mind that the financial assistance program is not immediate – eligibility is verified – start by completing online 211 intake form. (Bit.ly/211intake) or discuss with case manager. Assistance for basic needs listed above, as well as rent, and medical bills assistance. After one completes the intake form, they will receive a text or email from 211 about next steps and/or required documentation.
Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce – Monica Nolan
Chamber is focused on preservation, promotion, and progress. They want to celebrate all progress being made. Chamber office is open at 6161 Clark Road, partnered with Paradise Association of Realtors – allows their office to offer extra office space with WiFi access. Also offering business counseling courtesy of Small Business Development Center (SBDC) through Butte College on site at Chamber office.
Working on publishing 2nd edition Ridge Rising guide – 5000 copies of 1st edition went fast and things have changed quickly, so thought it prudent to get 2nd edition out before the fire anniversary.
Events are on Chamber website. Ribbon cuttings are happening often! Casa de Paradiso is the next one in Chico Wednesday September 4th. Johnny Appleseed Days in its t131st year – the oldest harvest festival in CA – they will not bake their own pies this year, but still will give away 1000 slices of apple pie as a thank you to communities. If you want a booth, register soon – they are going fast!
November 8, 2019 events being planned – watch events calendar, anyone can submit an event to be posted there.
Ace Hardware in Paradise having its Christmas Preview 11/9/19.
Board of Directors looking for new leaders for 2020. Community assets – proud of PUSD, amazing to see what has gone on with those schools and charter schools. Walk in SaveMart see Bobcat uniforms feels so good. Thank all PUSD staff, esp Michelle John. Takes hard work.
Paradise Parks and Recreation – Dan Efseaff
Thanks to all that attended for a great PRPD grand opening last week.
Strategic planning meeting was held ~10 days ago with inspiring discussion. They look forward to doing things for district and citizens. One major update coming – an updated master parks plan – watch for a survey (working with Chico State) seeking input on community needs, programs, facilities, etc. Essentially give them a to-do list.
One exciting partnership: Forebay Aquatic Center at Thermalito – arranged for funding of Camp Fire survivors to enjoy equipment on water. Keep an eye out.
November 7th ice rink opening in Paradise.
CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) – Mark Habib
Attorney from Chico (530) 342-3593
CC&Rs are privately created contracts with land owners. They may contain restrictions on architectural control, building size, nuisances, etc. Public entities do not enforce CC&Rs, they are enforced by courts if necessary via private actions.
During question time after the presentation, he explained in more detail that CC&R documents can vary greatly and should be reviewed specifically to determine if they are still effective and exactly what they require or disallow. CC&Rs should be able to be obtained through a Title company if copies were lost in the fire.
Wildfire Assistance Program – David Agretelis
The Wildfire Assistance Program provides financial assistance – deadline 11/15 – program opened 3 weeks ago, >5000 claims in system – started making payments last week. This is a new program, so they are building the plane while it is taking off.
Application to file claim and other info at website (www.NorCalWildfireAssistanceProgram.com) or call 888-626-0062 or via Facebook Page (search Facebook for Wildfire Assistance Program)
Trying to get the word out. $100 million - getting money out to those most in need quickly.
Butte County Assessor – Diane Brown
Updated on the correction of assessed property values: 1st and 2nd stages complete. Almost 16,000 corrections have been made to remove damaged structures. Property owners should have already received letter with updated tax information – remember that taxes were still assessed on structures for a partial year (prior to fire). New round of statements coming out later this year will have structures removed and adjustments to land also. If a property owner wants to see the new assessed value ahead of receiving the statement, go to Assessor’s website, at the top line is a link that says "VIEW: 2019/2020 Tax Roll Value Notice Inquiry" – click that link to see the value notice. Call if questions or suspected errors 530-552-3800. If you had a homeowners exemption, they will not remove that exemption until you tell them you are not going back to that property.
Butte County Clerk-Recorder, Registrar of Voters – Keaton Denlay, Elections Manager
Butte County elections changing moving forward. Voter Registration update – can be confusion because 2 addresses to list on the form: residence vs mailing. Residence/domicile – where you intend to live (even if you aren’t there currently) – can keep at Paradise address listed as residence, send info to mailing address.
Changes in voting process – CA Presidential primary will be held on Super Tuesday in March – Voter’s Choice Act effective 2018 in select counties, rolling out to all counties that want to this year – new process will be that ALL voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot (same timeline as before). Ballots will come with return envelopes with postage paid. New Signature flap – based on feedback for security, now you will sign and seal the flap over your signature so it is not exposed.
Ballots can be returned by mail (postage pre-paid) – drop off at drop box in secure location, or at vote center. See the image below for timeline for those drop-offs.
Northern Recycling and Waste Services – Jennifer Arbuckle
NRWS is pushing forward with limited staff. The recycle center is now open Friday and Saturday 10-2 (limited hours), Household Hazardous Waste center open 1st Saturday of the month from 10-2 as well. Vegetative waste still closed – facility is owned by Town of Paradise and was operated pre-fire by NRWS. Looking for resources to open that facility again.
18. Butte County Air Quality Management District –Jason Mandly 530-332-9400
Air quality has been continuously monitored since shortly after the fire. There have been minimal impacts to air quality throughout debris removal process. Monitoring occurs at debris handling sites and around town. Several agencies have been helping to monitor air quality. Go to website to find real time air quality data. Monitoring for particulates as well as asbestos and heavy metals – nothing has exceeded strict limits for public health.
CalFire – John Messina, Paradise Fire Chief
Cal Fire has operated Town of Paradise Fire Dept since 2012 – Fire activity in state, county, and town is minimal so far this year, but the potential is always there. Tomorrow night through Thursday there may be dry lightning. During weather events, CalFire takes measures to increase staff to mitigate increased risk.
Another example of their risk-mitigating response: There are ~1400 fire hydrants in town, many were damaged. Working with PID to identify non-functioning hydrants, and in those areas, they are modifying response to dispatch water tenders to ensure an adequate response.
Weed abatement – issued almost 400 notices to abate. Deemed 400 properties a fire hazard in Town. It is a step in the right direction, expect more next year. Working with property owners on how to clean property – as long as see action to remove, allow process to continue – At 9/10 Town Council meeting a new ordinance comes before Town to be more aggressive in time-frame of abatement to ensure safety, including enhancements to defensible space requirements on vacant properties. Brush will return, we want to make sure we are not in same place as 11/7, so have no choice but to ensure defensible space. This is not a government issue, it is a community issue to keep us fire safe. Thank you to all for the positive community response.
Is there or will there be grant money to harden standing homes against fire? Lauren Gill answered – Town has opportunity to apply for hazard mitigation funds. From her understanding, it will help any and all if standing and damaged or rebuilding. Also, housing programs and other grants to help with more traditional home rehab programs for lower income individuals. Limits on income have risen because of disaster.
What are survey requirements to re-establish property lines? Are there funds available to help? Lauren Gill answered - Need pins certified to re-establish boundary lines. At this point, no formal assistance program to help pay for that specifically, but maybe that is an expense that could be covered by some other more general fund or financial assistance program for those that qualify.