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Our View: Warrenton mobile home park offers lessons for everyone

The Community And Shelter Assistance Corp. has helped residents purchase 13 mobile home parks in Oregon since 2008.

Published on November 16, 2017 12:01AM

Warrenton Mobile Home Estates was recently purchased by a majority of the residents who live in the park.

Warrenton Mobile Home Estates was recently purchased by a majority of the residents who live in the park.

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Owning your own place to live is one of the main markers of a successful life in America. Even though there are reasons to sometimes question the advantages of owning over renting, we have an inherent belief that ownership delivers financial and lifestyle rewards.

It’s one of the flaws in our generally well-liked area that decent housing is in short supply for relatively low-income people, such as Social Security retirees and hospitality industry workers.

This makes it especially great news that the housing nonprofit Community And Shelter Assistance Corp. — CASA of Oregon — stepped up to help residents of Warrenton Mobile Home Estates buy their own mobile home park, as described in our story Wednesday.

Affiliated with Resident Owned Communities USA, CASA has helped buy 13 parks, including four this year. Most of the Warrenton park’s residents have opted to become shareholders in a housing co-op where expenses and some tasks will be shared by everyone who lives there.

This arrangement helps the Warrenton park buck a statewide trend of these facilities being sold and the land converted to more costly housing. Now, residents will be able to keep living in their accustomed place, while controlling their own destiny and perhaps benefiting from increases in value.

As the coast attracts more interest from beyond our immediate area, this arrangement stands to protect participants from being priced out of living here. Aside from the obvious benefits for residents, this will keep coastal society in general from trending toward becoming a wealthy enclave lacking in economic diversity.

Some mobile home parks in our region become blighted. Ownership is not a sure-fire guarantee that property will be maintained. But the CASA model of turning renters into owners offers real incentives for residents to work together to keep up appearances and discourage behaviors that adversely impact neighbors and shared property values.

This is an idea well worth careful study to see how it can be applied to other mobile home parks, as well as other types of housing dilemmas. Spreading the risks and rewards of property ownership between multiple residents is an appealing way to make sure coastal people can keep living at the coast.


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