Riverside County will block new residents at Oasis Mobile Home Park

The changes are made as part of an agreement with the Cahuilla Indians of the Torres Martinez Desert, on whose land the trailer park is located.

Riverside County will begin demolishing or removing some trailers at the Oasis Mobile Home Park, as well as erecting barriers to prevent new tenants moving in, under an agreement approved Tuesday by the board of directors. It’s part of an effort to permanently close the park, which has been plagued by health and safety hazards, including high levels of arsenic in the water system, for decades.

The supervisors voted 5-0 to approve a Memorandum of Understanding with the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians that will allow the county authorities to implement the new policies at the Oasis Mobile Home Park. The park is located in the Torres Martinez Reserve.

These include the “installation of physical K-rails; removal of trailers; demolition of uninhabitable trailers; and removal, abandonment, or disconnection of unauthorized or unlawful utilities, including improper water connections, sewer connections (and) electrical connections,” the agreement said.

While the county has made efforts to help residents relocate to safer living conditions in the eastern Coachella Valley, the lack of affordable housing options in the area has meant new renters are moving into the mobile home park almost as fast as people are moving out, according to Mike Walsh , Assistant Director, Riverside County Housing Authority, and V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor.

The thermal area is part of Perez County along with the rest of the Coachella Valley.

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In the past three years, the county has helped 78 families relocate from the park, said Greg Rodriguez, the county’s assistant director of government affairs and community engagement. The park is home to over 200 families.

The relocation effort was supported by a variety of funds, including $6.25 million in federal grants and nearly $8 million in state Project Homekey funding.

In 2021, Member of Parliament Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, requested $30 million to be included in California’s 2021-22 budget, including for the move from the Oasis Mobile, at the request of 49 organizations composed primarily of local nonprofits home park Governor Gavin Newsom approved the application in July 2021.

Since approval, the Board of Directors has approved the use of funds on two occasions: first, $7 million to advance the development of an affordable condominium complex in the city of Oasis, and in November, $279,000 to modernize the Maria y Jose Mobile Home Park , in the same area.

While the new affordable housing complex would not only house the residents of the Oasis Mobile Home Park, the district board said it would be preferred. All 12 pitches at Maria y Jose Mobile Home Park go to Oasis families.

The lack of adequate infrastructure in the area, including water security, has made it difficult to build new homes for Oasis residents to relocate to, Perez said.

“It’s really bad,” Third Circuit Supervisor Chuck Washington said during the board’s meeting. “It’s just unscrupulous that the managers of this front end home park allowed people to move in when we vacated some. to block access to anyone else who comes into this very deplorable condition.”

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Washington credited Perez with leading the MOU effort. “It took a long time,” Perez said at the meeting.

The new policy could affect a dozen other tribal reservations within the district, although tribes generally must first consent to the district’s presence on sovereign land.

In August, Perez announced that the county, the Cahuilla Indians of the Torres Martinez Desert, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs had jointly agreed that Oasis must eventually close “due to unresolvable health and safety issues that continue to make residents exceptional.” To cause difficulties. “

This is an evolving story and will be updated.

Eliana Perez covers the eastern Coachella Valley. Reach out at [email protected] or on Twitter @ElianaPress.