Updates from seventeen agencies involved in the Recovery of the Community were given with a focus on how far we've come and where we are headed. An introduction to the Tree Removal ROE Program was also given.
Lauren Gill - Paradise Town Manager
Highlights of how much progress our community has made since the Fire:
Debris removal, including abatement, is almost complete
A New Standing Dead Tree Program has rolled out – more info coming later in the meeting.
The Town of Paradise adopted a Community Vision and Long Term Community Recovery Plan – new Disaster Recovery Director Laura Page working on many projects from this Recovery Plan
Opening Soon: Building Recovery Center (BRC) – one stop shop for building permits, info for rebuilding, finances, etc in comfortable setting - former Bank of America building that was donated by BofA to the Town
Mayor Jody Jones and husband Ron filed class action lawsuit on behalf of private road property owners
Thanks to the many agencies that have assisted people and Town.
Commemoration program throughout the week. Town's event begins at 10:30 AM on Friday 11/8 with a tour of BRC building, reveal of Key Phoenix (local artist Jess Mercer collected house keys and made a Phoenix welded sculpture), 85 seconds at 11:08 AM on 11/8 for those lives lost. Then walk over to Hope Plaza Memorial Project for groundbreaking. World Kitchen Community Meal at the CMA Church at 2:30 PM. Evening program at CMA Church at 6 PM. Click here for a full calendar of community commemoration events.
Chief Eric Reinbold - Paradise Police Department
Proud of how far we’ve come – many families returning
PPD successfully fulfilled several vacancies
PPD values support and responsive relationship with community
PPD remains committed to serving people and defending rights and freedoms
Casey Hatcher, Butte County Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Resilience: She attended a recent training on how to build a more resilient community – trainer said resilience comes down to the confidence you have that you can recover – from whatever you are facing. Casey sees the makings of a community looking at the people on the stage to present and the audience. Many people including her try every day to remove road blocks; she knows it feels like there are a lot, but she hopes to remove road blocks so you can rebuild and reestablish community and show everyone how truly resilient you are.
Obstacle #1 = debris. All but a few of properties that have recently rolled into government program have had debris removed (just over 1000 properties waiting to be certified clean). Thankful to state and federal partners for the help executing.
Obstacle #2 = building permits. Many more permits than typically see in a year.
Tree Removal Program – more info at end of meeting. County is moving forward to remove trees rooted in public property – already many removed in Butte Creek Canyon. A number of Community Meetings coming up specific to Tree Removal ROE Program.
She'd like to remind everyone to care for yourself, care for your neighbors. Use mental health resources. Be patient with yourself and your neighbors.
David Samaniego – FEMA Coordinating Officer
Many FEMA grants given to individuals, businesses, non-profits, and public entities. They plan to grant more in future
Also helped with direct housing. Contracted with partners – leased 400 properties, built 4 temporary group sites in Butte County (2 in Chico, Gridley, Oroville) providing temporary housing for 700 families.
Path forward – continue to work with State, Town, PID, other stakeholders for long term recovery.
He introduced Bob Troy, our Federal FEMA Representative – he is committed to help ensure a federal presence helping state and local resources – committed to bringing as many dollars as possible to the area and make sure spent responsibly and quickly to help rebuild. Progress we’ve made is amazing and inspiring. Adopting Recovery Plan, clearing debris, path to rebuilding is amazingly quick. Knows it may feel slow, but impressive. Feds will be here for the foreseeable future. Partners not going anywhere. Working with State, County, Town leadership everyday.
Dena Wilson – Cal OES Camp Fire Debris Operations Incident Commander
Debris – removed 10,896 sites of debris in State program – >3.6 million tons of debris. Nearly 10,200 of those have been certified clean and released for rebuilding. Incredible feat. The debris removed is the material equivalent to 4 golden gate bridges. It would make 59 round trips to the moon for all miles driven to haul the debris – an incredible feat given all the weather and safety standing downs. Many VIPs are learning about how this was done to help future projects.
Continues to support PID on critical recovery activity to recover infrastructure – technical and grant assistance to maximize FEMA eligibility.
2017 Town of Paradise Sewer Feasibility Study – now that project is moving forward, seeking funding for permits, and other elements of the project in total of $11 million.
Rural designations make eligibility for rural project funding through USDA.
Michelle John – Paradise Unified School District Superintendent
Continue to work on Recovery of Facilities: They've met with US Dept of Education, met with Insurance Company and Contractors to work through their Strategic Plan.
They know the future of Paradise is our children and grandchildren. Quality education will keep people returning.
Challenges: worked hard to get families enrolled – at 52% of pre-fire enrollment – very proud, this is much higher than experts advised, but can't stop working on it.
Decreased Enrollment: due to housing costs and time to rebuild, a decrease in rentals.
Expenses increasing: Transporting from all over area so kids can stay with support system, Retiree medical costs have increased related to early retirement incentives, Salary schedule expected to be inflated as they anticipate layoffs this year.
More students are graduating than are coming in, peer group for graduating students – younger students not entering schools. This is a concern as it will lead to declined enrollment in the future.
Strategic Plan: reduce staff, update the Facilities Master Plan, improve communications and marketing plan to recruit students, ensure students have the ability to take classes needed for all paths after high school, working with community organizations so we are a destination district to attract more students, working to recruit teachers (tough when housing is limited).
Rain Forest Pproject – Making schools inviting but also involving kids in the process of making the schools more inviting - pictures of some examples were shown including kids making stained glass, a mural at new elementary near water fountains, mosaic benches, and an entrepreneurship in the High School wood class with Dan Evers – students making and selling adirondack chairs with engraved plaque.
They are thinking outside the box – they welcome ideas from the community!
Jason Mandly – Air Quality Monitoring
Project during debris removal was successful – shared the following video:
Monitoring data at their website.
50 monitoring locations, 10X normal number, were stationed throughout debris removal operations. Haven’t detected any particulate matter related to debris operations. Excellent job by debris removal crews!
Recycling Facilities air monitoring of greater surrounding community locations where debris is taken for sorting. Monitoring air and for metals and asbestos – equipment checked at points throughout the day.
Community monitoring helps ensure dust mitigation measures are working and protecting safety of community. Want trust and transparency to ensure during everything can to protect everyone.
Kevin Phillips – Paradise Irrigation District Manager
Goal remains in tact.
This year has been trying and testing. Many unknowns were faced through the Fire. It took a long time to get a good understanding. One of biggest things was how to develop Recovery plan. It has changed over the time from first reveal, goal was potability within 3 years. Today goal is now set all standing structures will have letters of potability by end of March!
PID employees have much support from outside. PID's system is unique with much internal knowledge that couldn’t just bring in from the outside. That knowledge is helping to develop Recovery plan.
They've tested over 3400 sites, 98% of water mains are clean, 97% of standing structures meet drinking water standards. The 3% not clean are the ones we are concerned about. Want the public to be confident in every potability letter.
Over 50% of burned structures show damage internally to service line. PID has made an internal decision to replace all service lines to burned structures. They are working with FEMA partners on funding and a hazard mitigation grant to pay for additional portion not covered by FEMA so people can know that service line won’t have contamination down the line.
PID just hired contractor to augment forces to PID isn’t the reason rebuild is held up. Scheduled to do over 650 service lines in the next 3 months as permits are issued. Prioritize those homes once rebuild gets to a certain point in construction. Reusing back-flow device if installed.
Looking ahead, many hazard mitigation grants, looking into possibility of new Magalia dam, replacing B reservoir, looking at hydraulic monitor to help with water flow during future event, brass meters and concrete boxes to harden infrastructure in future.
Financial Quandry – lobbied heavily at State for back-fill funding of rates for 2 years – got it. Now looking at other business models. Were going to look at study to Intertie and see water to Chico – County Supervisors decided to back out of that study but that doesn’t mean PID is dead. PID wants to protect our water rights. Don’t want another company to come in and take over. Doing everything possible to maintain local control. Look forward to supporting rebuild and new business. Looking to find more opportunities.
Mons Jensen – Adventist Health
What They've Accomplished Already:
Reopened Clinic in Paradise – team effort to open in 45 days
Expanded services in Chico to serve patients
Reestablished ambulance station with Butte EMS partner, NVCF gap funding – now on corner of Bille and Clark
Reworked clinic for immediate care service M-F 8 to 5. Accepting all insurance and all payor types to serve community.
Expand immediate care services to weekends
Emergency Room – Many heard governor recently signed bill to allow pursuit of stand-alone ER – this is new in CA. Key point is that this is the first step in rather long process to re-establish emergency services. They just started debris removal at hospital. Rebuild process to get ready for an ER will be extensive, including rebuilding central plant. They also need to develop the Business Plan because reimbursement for a stand alone ER is different than for a traditional hospital. Will need federal help to make viable – working with LaMalfa’s office to make it work.
Also need to recruit physicians to area – will continue to expand.
Remembrance Event on Saturday 11/9 open to all community – focus = celebration, healing and hope of Feather River Hospital (they've invited former staff for a reunion). Parking may be an issue – will be shuttles to help with overflow parking. Advise carpooling.
Jake Fender – California Hope of Butte County Program Manager
They are a grant funded organization for support and mental health to anyone in the community. They coordinate:
Individual and household counseling – meet survivors where they are at time convenient to help processing and normalize emotions to recovery – 5597 participants
Educational and Emotional Support Groups – help each other process, normalize emotions and reactions, teach stress management strategies, working with kids in 6 different schools to facilitate healthy play activities and stress management techniques. 46,398 group participants, many are school kids
Community Organizational Support – Working with Red Cross, Boys & Girls Club, Chamber of Commerce, I Ams Garden in Concow, Paradise Hope Center (Skyway and Neal) and Magalia Community Church – wonderful partners! California Hope participated in 2 dozen community events last month alone. Hope to be at 10 events in 5 communities for Commemoration Events.
They've assisted 41,597 brief emotional support participants. 93,592 total participants.
The anniversary is this week but it is not the end. Wherever you are in the process is the right place for you! Call the Hope Line 530-966-7382 for assistance!
Maritza Sandoval – Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District
Species of mosquitoes that can carry West Nile Virus have been observed, but no cases of West Nile Virus as of yet.
Photographs of burn area have been used to identify sources of mosquitoes – unmaintained pools, ponds, septic tanks, etc – all those identified have been addressed and mosquito fish placed.
NVCF grant funds helped hire more staff and use more residual products. Need continued diligence. District will continue to monitor.
As vegetation increases, create more habitat for ticks and wildlife. To minimize – remove leaf debris and keep vegetation to minimal – do not attract wildlife. Use measures to avoid ticks once vegetation grows.
Monica Nolan – Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Chamber never stopped working after the Fire – worked on visibility for businesses – new logo and slogan – database of businesses open. Worked to provide resource info to businesses.
As of April the Chamber has moved back to Paradise thanks to partnership with Paradise Alliance for Realtors. 877-9356 space for work and WiFi (when there’s power).
Since 1934 important part of Chamber has been its role in Community is signature events – they've continued to help preserve culture and normalcy by making sure these events happen.
This season new Board of Directors – old members staying, new nominees for an expanded regional focus. Thank you to businesses, membership is stronger than ever.
New release of edition 2 of Ridge Rising – so much progress, reissued, available in lobby.
Working with partners to offer tools for businesses to make good decisions. Continue with outreach walks and meetings, recognize construction workers very important – 2nd only to those rebuilding.
Working to expand in Magalia – now larger community on Ridge – recognize that 5 restaurants and businesses to support up there too.
Online community calendar – events can be posted by anyone – media uses to inform to very visible way to advertise events.
The Chamber works to protect the impression of the Paradise Ridge. She advised that the Press please take note and refrain from language of destruction. Paradise was not lost or obliterated. We are a strong community of pioneers with many assets, school choice, beautiful parks.
"Reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated." – Adapted from a famous quote by Mark Twain
Dan Efseaff – Paradise Recreation and Parks District Manager
Programs to Serve the Community
Ice rink – tremendous turnout last year 1 week after reopened community for tree lighting ceremony – ice rink is opening again this week – don’t have to skate – table set up for games Dec 1st 7-9 PM with many events planned.
Youth Services Summit was held in June – funding from Butte Strong, NVCF – capacity building grant to seek additional services
Long Term Goals:
Need to improve communications and marketing – new web page.
Survey coming out takes ~10 minutes of your time – seeking input on what the community wants for programs, classes, facilities (bocce ball heard in crowd whisper!)
New Activity Guide next Spring/Summer with new partnerships and services
Parks - fared well thru fire. They offer a community oasis – good place to go. Uplifting to see kids playing there.
New Rec Center Concept Drawing from Cal Poly students – what do we want facilities to look like in the future??
New playground planning – input from community and kids!
Focus = park planning, pursuing funds for Noble Park and Magalia (Lakeridge) park.
Participating to understand how can parks provide buffers and fuels management to mitigate wildfire – parks are areas to connect with others every day but also during emergencies. Kicking off study of how parks have served to mitigate wildfire state-wide and with Nature Conservancy and others.
Jennifer Arbuckle – Northern Recycling and Waste Service
NRWS is operating limited staff and resources – it is and has been a tough year – NRWS is a local company proud to do their best to move forward to help rebuild community.
They were able to move grant funds around and work with county and town – they've reopened the recycling center Fri/Sat 10-2 – busy and popular.
Also Household Hazardous Waste disposal center open once a month 10-2 Sat more minor need but happy to provide.
Grant written before Fire to replace recycling containers around Town – replacing with 32 new ones along trailways.
Butte 211 – Tracey
Role in recovery has been to assist with comprehensive and accurate info on relief and recovery services available to them. Grant funded local non-profit under Help Central, Inc. acting as a connecting point to services. Track resources, research and update info. Post updated info at 211campfire.org – with over 650 services listed on butte211.org
They respond to calls 24/7. Responded to >22000 live calls and text messages from fire-impacted individuals. Hearts are swelled with pride in resiliency of community.
Provide immediate referrals for basic needs, housing, mental health care, medical services, emergency financial assistance, fire-related recovery services, more.
Tripled number of staff working and number of people served by the unexpected large magnitude disaster.
Special project implemented spontaneously to respond to immediate needs – examples included AirBNB vouchers for those with no housing, dispatched free rides via Lyft.
Started outgoing text messaging line with info and updates via text.
In June – Camp Fire Long Term Recovery Group, other groups funded to provide ongoing disaster case management services. 211 is partnering with other groups to help with this continued effort.
Online intake form with bit.ly/211intake due to large need. Many are still not stably housed – know demand continues. Need exceeds capacity of case managers and that results in extended wait to get a case manager and/or get help. Recently joined with partners to inform Butte County Supervisors of the need for additional case managers.
Upcoming projects: Holiday Assistance Guide that includes services, meals, give-aways, etc – gift programs for children.
Diane Brown – Butte County Tax Assessors
Updated Tax bills have been sent out - they removed almost 3 billion dollars in revenue – removed structures, adjusted land.
If you need to transfer value to new replacement property it requires 2 appraisals – on new properties – received over 800 requests. Why does it take so long? Only 14 appraisers and workloads have increased in all communities.
Questions should be directed to office – email email@example.com
Tried to reduce land values to where they thought land was selling. If don’t agree with value – contact the office.
Jenavive Herrington - Assistant County Clerk-Recorder
Continue to offer free replacement of records:
Vital records can still be replaced at no cost – birth, death, marriage
Also deeds, conveyances, other records can be replaced for free as well.
Voting in Elections
Displaced voters fall into 4 categories - you can choose where you'd like to register to vote regardless of where you are living now. Register to Vote here.
Those who plan to rebuild and return
Those who do not plan to return
Those who have not decided
Those who have already updated their registration
Elections are changing!! Starting with the upcoming Spring Primary in March moving to an all vote by mail approach.
Ballots will be mailed ballot about 29 days before election day. Return postage is PAID.
Ballot boxes available 28 days before elections for you to drop your ballot if you don't want to mail it.
10 days prior to election, Vote Centers open – fully staffed facilities to help voting.
Mandatory Tree Removal Program Overview – Laura Page, Casey Hatcher, Dena Wilson
FEMA estimate as many as 280,000 trees eligible in burn scar – this program will get out a lot of dead burnt trees that could be a danger.
This is a Mandatory program – everyone eligible will need to participate.
Community Meetings – more in depth presentation, questions answered then.
Program: Private property rooted tree that might fall on public road – 2 options:
Government program – ROE packet – schedule tree removal process – simpler than for debris – assessment team evaluates (registered forester/arborist to inspect trees and deem hazards – marked and catalogued so removal crews know what to remove – after done inspector comes to verify done. No debate on identified trees – the point is to take the trees that are a hazard.
Private property (identify and remove trees self, maybe already done) - complete Inspection Access one-page Form - inspector will come out to confirm when gone. No reimbursement for costs spent in future or past. Registered professional forester confirms in compliance.
Permit can’t be issued unless enrolled in program (doesn’t need to be complete). Enrollment is either ROE packet for government or Inspection Access Form for private program.
No prevention from living on property during tree removal program.
Will verify that no duplication of funding – will ultimately collect funding if have tree removal insurance. If there are trees that don’t affect public right-of-way – encourage to take out other trees in mean time so maximize available funds prior to CalOES collections.
Come to a Community Meeting for the Tree Removal Program for more information or to get questions answered!