CASA of Oregon recently helped the the fourth manufactured home community this year convert to resident ownership — this time Warrenton Mobile Home Estates. The
newly rechristened Elk Meadow Cooperative is a 37-home community in the far northwestern corner of Oregon.
Julie Massa of CASA told the local paper, The Daily Astorian, that the vote to go co-op was nearly unanimous at Elk Meadow and that they made the purchase without a rent increase.
Interim Board President Mike Fallert told reporter Edward Stratton that when residents first learned their neighborhood was for sale, they were worried about a steep rent increase or even eviction. Now that he and his neighbors own the community, they know they’ll never be forced out.
“Basically what this is about is guaranteeing affordable housing for people,” Fallert said. “If the water goes up 50 percent, then we’ll have to deal with that, things like that. But we won’t have the kind of economic pressures that a private single owner would have.”
The day after the news article ran, the newspaper’s editorial board wrote a piece
supporting resident ownership. They wrote that co-ops are a solid strategy to protect lower- or fixed-income residents from being priced out of the increasingly popular and more costly coastal region.
“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,” they wrote. “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.”