Loss Lingers for Thunderbird Mobile Club Refugees

“Loss lingers for former residents of Thunderbird Mobile Club, four years after Wilsonville park closed,” by Rachel Stark, The Oregonian, January 06, 2012

[Ed. Note - one of the seniors profiled in this story now lives at Creekside Woods, Northwest Housing Alternatives, Inc.'s new senior housing complex built partly in response to Thunderbird's closure.]

> Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian. Stairs stand detached from the mobile home they once served in Thunderbird Mobile Club days before the park closed in February 2008.

WILSONVILLE — The last residents of the Thunderbird Mobile Club in Wilsonville can all trace a chaotic chapter in their lives to February 2007, when they were evicted at the height of the housing boom to make way for new development.

More than 50 Oregon mobile home parks issued mass evictions in the five years ending in March 2008. The Thunderbird closure was one of the largest.

Many of the residents were seniors on fixed incomes, some with homes too old to move or be accepted into other parks. Others could not afford up to $30,000 in relocation costs. Uproar over the dislocation helped prompt legislators to pass a tenant protection law.

In November, after years of litigation, Thunderbird residents finally started receiving payments from a city-negotiated settlement. Each former resident deemed eligible by Wilsonville staff received a check for about 37 percent of the assessed value of their manufactured home, as they are known in the industry. While the residents feel it’s a pittance compared to what they deserve, most are thankful they finally got something.

Nearly 200 people scattered to find new homes. They settled into apartment complexes, nursing homes, and family members’ houses. Some died shortly after the eviction. A few moved to other mobile home parks.

Here are some of their stories.

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