Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current, February 01, 2008, Page 15, Image 15

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voice community news
Manufactured vs. Stick-Built: Things to
Consider When Rebuilding Your Home
There are many benefits to rebuilding with a
manufactured home. Primarily, it will quickly get
you warm and dry and back in your neighborhood
with some degree of ease. Yet before making the fi-
nal decision, make sure you are aware of regulations,
property valuation changes and hidden costs.
You may be facing zoning requirements that
have changed since homes currently in the area have
been moved in. One such regulation will not be de-
termined until February 7 after a public hearing. In
this meeting City Council will review the new flood
plain maps in order to make sure the city ordinanc-
es are in compliance. This compliance directly af-
fects the city’s eligibility for National Flood Insur-
ance Program participation and, by association, each
home owner’s ability to remain insured.
New elevation standards for foundations on new
construction cannot be determined until this process
is complete. The process for determining substantial
damage will also be reviewed. You will need to par-
ticipate in this process; if your home is found to be
substantially damaged, you must receive a letter stat-
ing this in order to be eligible for any assistance with
the increased cost of building at the compliant height
requirement. This increased cost of compliance may
not include the cost of changing the “footprint” of
the foundation of your current home. The city is tak-
ing speedy yet prudent measures to make sure that
you have all the pertinent information needed to
keep you eligible for potential mitigation funds and
to maintain your flood insurance as well as preserve
the character of our neighborhoods.
Check with your financial institution and/or lo-
cal real estate broker to see how your decision im-
pacts the value of your property (or your mortgage if
you have one). Calculating the value of the structure
is not as simple as adding all the costs together. For
example, if you purchase a manufactured home for
$89,000 and spend another $30,000 for a foundation,
and another $10,000 for installation, it does not mean
that your property value now equals $129,000.
Also, make sure that the installer and transporter
have approved the site for installation and that all
necessary permits are obtained. Keep in mind that
you are moving a very large object and with that
come challenges, the most important of which is ac-
cessibility. That means the transporter must agree
that they can get the home to the property, and the
installer must agree that they can properly prepare
the site for installation. Does the site meet the mini-
mum requirements for placement? In other words,
is the lot large enough for setbacks to be met? Your
installer will need to prepare the property to receive
the home. This includes building a foundation to sup-
port the home and anchoring it to the ground; both
processes must meet or exceed regulation standards.
The installer should also ensure that rainwater drains
away from the home. Make sure you understand all
roles and responsibilities of site preparation. After
committing to spend all that money on a new home,
you don’t want to deal with the expense of cutting
down trees that you thought the installer would re-
Make it a point to understand the installation
company’s role in hooking up all utilities - especially
electricity, water, sewage, natural gas /propane - and
the costs associated with them. Also, who is respon-
sible for repairing any damage done to streets and/or
This brings us to our last tip. It’s important that
you work with your retailer to understand your total
financial obligation. That means you need to under-
stand what is included in the price of your manu-
factured home as well as what’s not included. For
example, does the retailer offer a bundled “turn-key”
price that includes transportation, inspections and
installation? Or are you responsible for negotiating
with contactors yourself?
Whatever the case, buying a home is a big ex-
pense. Reputable retailers will have no problem pro-
viding you in writing all the promises and warranties
that they’ve made to you during negotiations.
Insurance Low-Balling & Inconsistencies
By Evangeline Doyle
All I can say is, “Good for your neighbor…bad
for you.”
This was the response Gary Meyer received from
his insurance adjuster after reviewing his flood claim
information and comparing it to that of his neigh-
bor’s. “That’s how ugly this is,” said Meyer. “It’s
a crime,” he said, “what they [insurance companies]
are doing is criminal.”
Meyer is referring to the low-balling and in-
consistencies that are happening with flood insur-
ance claims. Meyer has the same house, the same
floor plan as his neighbor. They received the same
amount of damage. They even have the same insur-
ance company. His neighbor received a valuation
nearly $14,000 more than Meyer.
What Meyer doesn’t understand, is why insur-
ance companies are low-balling claims, since this is
paid for through FEMA. According to the FEMA
representative Meyer spoke with, it comes down to
education; agents and adjusters need to understand
the process.
Meyer also explained that it doesn’t matter if you
go out and get estimates for repairs, his insurance
company is dictating how much the repairs will cost.
Meyer has no problem with this if they can provide
the contractors willing to work for this amount. But
they don’t. Additionally his adjuster told him “most
people would take the money and make it work.”
Meyer has done his research. He’s not going qui-
etly, and he doesn’t want anyone else to either. “Un-
derstand what you are signing,” said Meyer. And if
you don’t, ask a friend or neighbor to help. We are
all one family here and we need to take care of each
Other inconsistencies Meyer has uncovered in-
volve dates. He showed me the supplemental claim
date on his insurance paperwork, it read 180 days
from date of loss. The FEMA flood insurance hand-
book indicates you have just 60 days from date of
loss to file a supplemental claim, and Meyer was told
verbally by his insurance agent, that he had one year
from date of loss. So who do you believe, FEMA or
your insurance company?
Meyer also learned that if you do the repairs
yourself, the federal government will pay you $5.85
an hour. An insurance company offered one local re-
tired couple only $5.17 an hour. Meyer said, “Resi-
dents need to be aware of what they are entitled to,
they paid the insurance premiums for their flood
insurance…insurance that is backed by the Federal
government. It should not be like this.”
Meyer said Ron Wyden’s office and the FEMA
people he’s talked to have been helpful; he was told
by a FEMA representative, “you all essentially own
the same policy because it’s a federally mandated
system.” Meyer also applauded the Lyons Club for
bringing in lawyers to provide residents with free
consultation – “the people who will be taken advan-
tage of the most are our elderly…we need to help
Zimmerman Announces
Candidacy for County
Pat Zimmerman of Scappoose has announced that
she is running for County Commissioner. She will
be seeking the Democratic nomination for Seat 3 cur-
rently held by Republican Tony Hyde who is expected
to run again.
“It’s time for a change. County government has
become remote from the people it’s supposed to serve.
It should be accessible and accountable to the coun-
ty’s citizens. Their issues and problems and sugges-
tions for solutions should be listened to and made first
priority,” Zimmerman said.
“As commissioner, I would work hard to open
up our government. Decisions made by the Board of
Commissioners have a huge impact on our quality of
life, so everyone should have the opportunity to be
heard, not just the small group of ‘usual suspects’.
Current policies make it almost impossible for even
an experienced citizen activist to get information,
much less someone trying it for the first time. This
has to change.
“Another priority will be job creation – but jobs
that don’t do more harm than good. We need to grow
our jobs base but not at the expense the community. I
would ask the hard questions, as I did at the Port when
I challenged the assumption that a handful of jobs near
Clatskanie were worth 110-car trains (bringing corn
from the Midwest) cutting south county towns in half.
“The US 30 commute problem is very serious.
The costs in gas, family and societal disruption, con-
tribution to global warming and other factors are huge.
We need to make it easier to work close to home and
easier to commute. The county can and should sup-
port van and car pooling, telecommuting and other in-
novative solutions. We also should look at controlling
growth,” she said.
Zimmerman believes that her work as a Port
Commissioner, chair and member of the state Citizen
Involvement Advisory Committee, active SHIBA vol-
unteer helping seniors with Medicare issues, engineer-
ing manager at Intel and other high tech companies,
and participation in many other civic and land use or-
ganizations will allow her to “hit the ground running”
if she is elected.
“I’ve managed 55-engineer departments with
annual budgets of $80 -$85 million. At the Port, I
learned the arcane government budgeting and spend-
ing system. I think the county’s current budget prob-
lems will continue, so business as usual isn’t an
option. We need to really examine what spending
is unavoidable and how to use the money more ef-
fectively. There are possible savings through better
use of technology and the web. Using Zero Based
Budgeting would also help.”
“Of course, all the research and ideas in the world
are useless without good people to carry them out. As
a successful manager in high tech I learned that treat-
ing people well and expecting the best of them results
in good working relationships. Mutual respect is ab-
solutely critical – there is no room for arrogance or
power plays if you want a successful outcome. Gen-
erally, no individual can make something happen – it
takes a team.”
Zimmerman, 62, lives with her husband, Paul
Dinu, west of Scappoose. She’s lived there for nearly
thirty years and has watched the community grow.
She has worked for Tektronix, Intel, various high tech
startups, and other local companies. Before moving
to Oregon, she was on the faculty of Case Western Re-
serve University’s medical school, staff at University
of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine and held
several computer-related jobs. She started her career
as a data entry operator in Rochester, NY.
She has a bachelor’s degree from the University
of Rochester and a Ph. D. in Information Science
from Case Western Reserve University. She retired
from Intel at age 49 in 1995. Since then, she’s been
busy as a SHIBA volunteer, member of numerous lo-
cal and state land use committees and work groups,
columnist in the local paper, Humane Society activ-
ist, and hand weaver.