Bridging the 5th district communities

Our rebuild moves forward, but we are the lucky few

As many are aware, we are a CZU Fire family. We lost our home to the fire on August 20th, 2020 and have been fighting ever since to recover. 

Today is a special day. Yesterday we passed our rough inspection, which is ironically the toughest one to pass. It includes plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. So today, the insulation of our home is beginning followed by dry wall. After that, we are taking over as we could not afford to pay our general contractor to complete our job.

Our story, is not a unique one in the fire community. We were set to break ground on our new home in the beginning of 2021. The county halted all progress on our build and delayed us for almost a year to do the Atkins Debris Flow Risk study. In that time our bid ballooned from $807,000 for the entire build to $1.085 Million dollars. The $807,000 was already a stretch. We had already spent a small fortune just to get to this point. We had no choice but to push ahead and figure it out.

We are one of the lucky few families who have been able to make progress in the San Lorenzo Valley.

Many fire survivors are still stuck in the preliminary stages of obtaining their permits, and we are rapidly approaching the three year anniversary of the fire. To date, out of the 911 homes lost in the blaze only 23 homes have been rebuilt all the way to completion with a final occupancy sign off.

Out of those 23 only 6 are in our district. Six.

Let that sink in. It is almost three years later and only 6 families have been successful in district 5 at rebuilding their lost homes, and are able to start putting this nightmare behind them.

The county boasted of a streamline process, but with the structure of the planning department and no growth philosophy of the county the only process our community was given with filled with obstruction. And that has cost us dearly. We have lost so many community members as they understandably felt like they had to move out of the area and leave their properties and community behind.

There are tangible reasons that people couldn’t rebuild that were outside of the county control. However, its pretty sobering that district five lost over 600 homes out of 911 in the fire and we’ve only had six families actually complete the process at almost three years later.

Read that again. Imagine being in emergency mode for almost three years. Its unconscionable. 

The CZU Fire community is the canary in the coal mine. It is imperative that we learn this lesson to not only improve the lives of those that are still struggling to rebuild but take a different approach for future disaster victims. I plan on taking all that I know as someone who has been on the receiving of such adversity to fight for drastic improvements on how our county serves the constituents of my district.  We don’t need any more of the empty promises of streamlined processes that don’t actually help people. We need more than pretty words. We need action. We need change.

Join me and help families who have lost so much to recover and move forward.


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4 responses to “Our rebuild moves forward, but we are the lucky few”

  1. Robert Middleton Avatar

    Christopher, I’d like to interview you. I have an interview show where I interview amazing people who are committed to making a difference. And I dig deep to know who you are and what you are up to.
    Most of my interviews are posted on my private channel, but we would also make this available on NextDoor and Boulder Creek Neighbors.
    I’ve read what you’ve written and I am inspired. So, let me know when you could do this in the next week or three. I’ll need 60-90 mins. I can do evenings.

    1. Christopher Bradford Avatar

      Hello Robert!
      I would love to sit down with you. Please shoot me an email at christopher@bridgingthemountain.com, let’s get something on the schedule.

  2. Ryan Porter Avatar

    The same restrictions that prevent or make it cost-prohibitive to rebuild or repair fire damage are making it impossible to repair damage from this year’s storms. Mountain residents have a right to exist!

    1. Antonia Bradford Avatar
      Antonia Bradford

      Hello Ryan,

      You are so right. We have been gravely concerned about how the victims of this years storms have been faring, I have not heard anything good. Unfortunately when a new permit is needed (repair, rebuild) those seeking assistance are subject to the latest codes and while the county has the opportunity to offer leniency it often chooses not to. Mountain people absolutely have a right to exist, and we will continue to fight!

      -Antonia
      Campaign Manager

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