Rotary volunteers build tiny houses for Hope Village – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Rick Clark, in the foreground, chops wood as other members of the Medford Rogue Rotary Club work to build small houses at Medford Fabrication for use at the Hope Village site for the homeless. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Four houses will be added to the housing supply in the Medford transitional housing community

They are not professional house builders, but volunteers from the Medford Rogue Rotary Club are putting the finishing touches on four small homes for the homeless.

“For us non-contractors, it was a big project,” club member Rick Clark said Thursday as those around him painted moldings and siding, cut wood and drilled porch floors. before. “We are all hackers and do-it-yourselfers at home.”

The four tiny homes will be the latest additions to Hope Village, a Medford transitional living site run by shelter and housing group Rogue Retreat. Hope Village already has 34 small houses. Each is designed to join with another house, forming miniature duplexes.

Rotary members began building the four small houses in February without knowing exactly how long it would take.

“It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. It was funny. We were ineffective because we didn’t have all the right tools,” Clark said.

The amateurs were helped by the pros.

Andy Batzer of Medford-based construction company JB Steel drew up plans for the tiny houses. Bill Thorndike of Medford Fabrication donated the use of a warehouse-sized building so volunteers could build while being protected from the weather. The building is equipped with a crane which the volunteers used to lift the roofing material into place.

To make sure roofs don’t leak, a professional installs flashing to keep water away from joints.

Companies donated materials or offered discounts, and volunteers donated some of their own supplies in addition to their time.

All that cooperation means the Rotary club spent about $20,000 to build the four tiny houses, instead of the $90,000 to $100,000 it would normally cost, Clark said.

Andy Atkinson/Mail Tribune Rick Clark, left, and Rick Lemmon are building tiny homes that will fit on the Hope Village site in Medford.

Each house is well insulated and comes with wiring so that a person living there can run a heater. Solar panels power basic low-energy items such as lights and cell phone charging. An attic provides storage and windows in the small living room/bedroom let in the sunlight.

The Tiny Houses do not have bathrooms or kitchens, but Hope Village has shared kitchen, bathroom, shower, and laundry facilities.

Clark said the homes provide transitional living so people fleeing homelessness can stay clean, eat and have their own address. For him, helping the homeless is personal.

“I had a sister and she was homeless. She died on the street,” he said.

Bob Hunter, a member of the Medford Rogue Rotary Club and former editor of the Mail Tribune, said many people mistakenly believe that the main business of Rotary clubs is to meet for lunches.

“Projects are more about Rotary than meetings,” he said, noting that Rotary’s projects range from installing water filters in Guatemala to supporting a basketball program in Kids Unlimited in Medford for local elementary school students.

Building tiny homes is part of Rotary’s mission to carry out projects that help communities near and far, Hunter said.

“What attracts me is that it’s practical. You can step back and see the results,” he said.

Pat Barry, a member of the Medford Rogue Rotary Club, said he was inspired to help build the tiny houses after visiting Rogue Retreat’s Hope Village.

“From what I’ve seen, the people at Rogue Retreat have real compassion for the people they help. They invest a lot of time and resources into helping people,” Barry said. can make that effort, I can do what I can to help a little.”

Contact Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

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