Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Valley Oaks ends 'repair' phase, focus now on re-population

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Valley Oaks Mobile Home Park is repairing the damage of the 2007 Rice Fire.

“That’s the advantage of hands-on management from owners; they didn’t try to expand the park or use the 106 vacant plots to make it different. They repaired it, in hopes that the people who were burned out could come back as a community as quickly as possible.”

That was the opinion of long-time mobile home sales broker, Jerome Meuse of Creative Homes of North County. It was seconded by Valley Oaks managing partner Richard Grossman.

“To date, 27 of the people who were burned out have returned, 17 of them in new homes.” he said.

The fact that many residents found it necessary to move into retirement homes or live with children afterward has been a result of age or insurance difficulties, said Kathy Majors, resident manager. Unfortunately, it has kept others from moving in the community.

“One resident was rescued by the Salvation Army; several others by local churches. Neighbors, the Fallbrook community and the park owners all worked together to help however they could,” said Grossman. “Perhaps it is happening more slowly than we wish, but homes are being sold.

Sales experts Steve and Kim Barrier, who just listed three new homes in the community on behalf of Creative Homes North County, are enthusiastic supporters of the park, like their broker/ dealer Meuse.

“In the 10 years I’ve been selling mobile homes, I found it easy to introduce clients to Valley Oaks, said Steve. “I’d ask them, ‘Do you want to see a park in Fallbrook? They’d say “no,” I don’t want to drive that far. Then, I’d suggest a little tour, take them to Valley Oaks, and they’d fall in love with it.”

“Valley Oaks is an outstanding value. It’s a place families can settle into affordable housing in an upscale community like Fallbrook,” Meuse said. “While most parks are senior parks for ‘over 55’ residents, Valley Oaks has gone the other way. It was a senior park in the 1990s, now it accommodates families.”

“Still, I’d say that half the residents have one or no children,” said Susan Koga, associate manager. Koga has been at Valley Oaks since 1997. Majors moved in 13 years ago after having lived in Indiana. Majors said she was struck by the sense of community and caring.

“It’s still amazing to me to see how neighbors help neighbors. It was especially true during the fire warnings and is still true today,” she said.

While no one can guarantee the future, Barrier thinks a fire in the same spot is highly unlikely and says his clients are as safe there as anywhere.

Grossman, although cautious, also believes residents are safer now. “We continue to stress vegetation control and evacuation preparedness to limit future losses,” he said. Grossman has declared the repair phase is over and said the park is moving full speed ahead on its repopulating mission.

From the manner in which new homes are selling, the situation improves daily. Creative Homes recently listed three new three bedroom homes there for less than $90,000, and two of them were put in escrow within a week of listing.

“The Phoenix is rising, sure enough,” said Meuse.

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