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Lassen County Times
Susanville, California
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November 6, 2007     Lassen County Times
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November 6, 2007
 

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lOB Tuesday, Nov 6, 2007 Lassen County Times, Westwood PinePress [] Anthony E. Larson Staff Writer anthonyelarson@starband.net Two years ago, the Pit River Tribe hired local Native American, Allen Lowry of Susanville, to oversee the rehabilitation of. tribal hous- ing. As housing coordinator, Lowry has worked to put the tribe's housing program on its feet. "(Many of) the people that live here are living in substandard homes," he said. Thanks to Lowry's exper- tise and efforts, and the direc- tion of tribal leaders, 14 new homes have been built and 65 homes have been rehabilitat- ed for tribe members during the past year. "I have 11 homes right now under construction," he said. Raised in the Likely area, Lowry now lives in Susanville, "I have a home there on the reservation." Lowry has some Pit River descendency, so tribal back- ground makes him familiar with their needs and prob- of such a far-flung group is challenging, as it requires considerable time and travel. "I drive two hours to work," he said. But he feels the sacri- fice is well worth it. "The tribal people appreci- ate it, and it's really reward- ing. People are living in pret- ty tough shape here." Lowry tells of the deplorable conditions in some tribal housing. "We still have a lot of people that do no.t have running water, or they still use outhouses. We don't have power in a lot of homes." As some homes are 8O or more years old, some with no insulation and leaky roofs, he hopes to provide them with the "basic, life necessities." "We're advocates for the Pit River Tribe. People don't know what Shasta and Modoc counties are like, how people are living in the back woods. They've lived that way all their life." Lowry cited examples of the life-changing improve- "People are living in pretty tough shape here. We still have a lot of people that do not have running water, or they still use outhouses. We don't have power in a lot of homes. " [ Allen Lowry - Housing Coordinator for Pit River Tribe lems. Additionally, as general contractor and instructor of construction technology at Lassen College, he brings considerable building and administrative experience to the table. The Pit River Tribe, accord- ing to Lowry, is comprised of 11 autonomous bands, consol- idated into a single govern- ment. Spread over a 10,000 square mile area, there are several hundred tribe mem- bers in Modoc County alone. ments the Pit River Tribe has made recently. He told of a grandmother trying to raise grandchildren and great grandchfldt'en in a home without a proper bath- room. "They had the river flowing by. That's where the tooth- brush was; that's where the bar of soap was," said Lowry. "She's lived that way all her life." Now, thanks to tribal ~fforts, life is better. A prominent Susanville resident, general contractor and former instructor of construction technology at Lassen College, Allen Lowry, is nowthe housing coordinator for the Pit River Tribe. He surveys the progress on construction of a new subdivision on the Pit River XL Reservation, north of Alturas, one of several projects Lowry oversees to upgrade tribal housing. "The hardest part, I think, is telling people who are in need that there's not enough money, not enough time, not enough workers," he said. These improvements make all the difference. "It's life changing," said Lowry. "She thinks it's a mir- acle." He recounted how the hous-. ing program had put five modular homes on Roaring Creek Reservation in Shasta County where tribe members were !'clustered in this little 40-acre reservation." We brought power in there. We tore down the old homes," he said, refrigeration They now have things that we probably take for granted," he said: "That's a wonderful deal to go down there and see that." Lowry related how they had made an elderlywoman's home wheelchair-accessible. And added, "We replaced her wood stove with a gas furnace so she can be warm." Lowry described the chal- lenges of dealing with tribal government. "The tribal council has they're independent. They have different needs." He acts as an intermediary between the government agencies and the tribes. "This is the most challeng- ing job of my life, but it's also [he most t'ewarding," said Lowry. The first year, was spent in creating an organization with a fiscal system, insuring accountability, getting all the plans approved, doing all the environmental work and fol- Lowry, will place eight: fami- lies in new modular homes by next summer. The eight-lot cul=de-sac is the first step in a subdivision with a total of 20 homes, a community center, a center for the elderly and a fire station. "That's still a dream," Lowry said, "but we've got it on paper now." The second is a complex of nine duplexes for a total of 18 living units designed for housing the elderly and dis- "That's our service area," "For the first time, ever, she These people did not have upwards of 30 people on it, lowing all tiie procedures, abled on tribal land in said Lowry. emphasizing the has electric lights. For the refrigeration, according to representing 11 different laws and regulations Burney,next door to the exist- enormity of the task and the first time, ever, she has flush Lowry, so, they kept ,things bands. Each band has one or including tribal law, as well. ing daycare and ,nutrition distances involved, toilets. Kids have. their own: :cool in a, ini[ 3 4o ,they are -two representatives. It s a ' ll:that technical part that site, with hfialthcare just :room. She-s ol lr Pane heat :r w hv ode ag :.W ry complex government, hadbeenlacl ing," he said. - acrossthe streeL. Seeing to the housing needs and solar panels,"said;Lowry "They h ye. lights;, they have They're not all the same, and Th0ugh the tribe had good' we "" 're got ' Lqeverymmg. (" Sign up for a new prepaid account with a minimum amount of 10. and receive 10. oo extra air time. th I Sign up for a two . year agreement or renewal & receive an , extra $14.99 value on I great accessories.* Free Mephone Two =10.00 gift "certificates Two ,=20. gift certificates much Ask about our in-store specials[ AUTHORIZED DEALER WIRELESS* Specials only available at: locally owned and operated SUSANVILLE 629 MAIN STREET 130 WILLOW STREET *Offer ends 11/10/07. Limited to stock on hand. For post paid plans, a new activation or renewal, credit approval and two year agreement are required. Early termination fee of $25 per month ~ ~,~ ~~ ~ ,~ ~ goals and good plans, they ready there to construct in lacked the administrative ability-to get the job done, said Lowry. "They just didn't know where to go." So, he implemented their plan. "Now, we're into opet'a- tion. We're.actually spending the funds for what they were intended." Lowry is shepherding two major projects at the moment, along with a multi- tude of smaller ones. The first is phase one of a new housing development on the XL Reservation near Alturas. The $1.5 to $1.8 mil- lion project, according to the spring/' said Lowry. "Everything's stubbed out. We're ready to build. It's a really beautiful site." Funding is always the chokepo int. "This tribe is capped out at between $1.3 million and $1.5 million per year," Lowry said, noting that such a sum is still a drop in the bucket consider- ing the number of needy in the tribe. "We have hundreds of fam- flies in need. That's the frus- trating part. We're classify- ing who comes first, based on need:"