Dave Vangsness stands six feet up a step ladder, driving in the final screws to secure a metal roof on a brand new deck.
At ground level, lead contractor Curtis Gordon and volunteer Jim Henry are completing work on a handrail and set of stairs on the deck the crew has spent four days building.
On a brilliant Thursday morning along Rock Creek Road, the volunteer workers at Umpqua Valley Habitat for Humanity are less than one hour from packing up their tools and excess lumber before preparing for the next building project.
Meanwhile, Margaret and Daniel Tiedke, who lost virtually everything when the Archie Creek Fire came raging down the Rock Creek drainage on Sept. 8, 2020, will have a brand new deck for their brand new home.
The project is one of many Umpqua Valley Habitat for Humanity has completed through its partnership with Glide Revitalization, helping homeowners who suffered significant loss during the devastating fire continue their climb back to a sense of normalcy amid a quite different landscape.
Robin Hartman, executive director of Umpqua Valley Habitat for Humanity since 2015, said her team of around a dozen volunteers has completed a number of rebuilding projects not only in the Glide and Idleyld Park areas, with an eye on new home construction to hopefully begin later this spring and into the summer.
“We’ve been super busy the past few months,” Hartman said. “Our work has included construction of pump houses, equipment sheds, ramps and porches both in the burned areas and for those who have had to leave their property to restart their lives in different housing somewhere in Douglas County.”
Vangsness, who relocated to Douglas County after retiring with the rank of lieutenant from the Anaheim (California) Police Department, has been working with the Habitat team for close to five years.
“We do a little bit of everything,” Vangsness said amid the sound of cordless screwdrivers and electric sanders as the team put the finishing touches on the Tiedke’s new deck.
All Habitat construction requires a licensed contractor, and Gordon contributes at least one day a week to offer his guidance and expertise.
“It’s been going pretty well,” Gordon said. “We’ve probably built at least 15-20 sheds and pump houses, maybe more.”
The project at the Tiedke’s residence required a mildly more nuanced expertise: Daniel Tiedke relies on an electric scooter. With the couple’s former deck, he would have to leave the scooter at the base of the stairs, uncovered except for a tarp, then get assistance up the stairs into the family’s home.
The new deck now features a ramp which will allow Daniel to go up the first level of the ramp with ample room to turn before ascending the second level of the ramp to the main deck and front door of the home.
The project took a little less than four working days.
“It needed to fit his needs,” Gordon said, “so he could easily turn and get on the deck.”
For the project’s prior three work sessions, a larger group of volunteers were helping at the home Thursday. While the trio put a bow on that project, more volunteers were at the now-vacated Loggers Taphouse location at Roseburg Marketplace, retrieving building materials which Habitat hopes to be able to use in future projects.
Umpqua Valley Habitat for Humanity receives financial assistance through The Home Depot Foundation, State Farm Insurance, the Community Rebuilding Fund and the United Way.