Story Corps
Steve Rahmn lives in Coffey Park in Santa Rosa and walks past the damage from the 2017 Tubbs fire.
photo credit: Tessa Paoli

More than 70 residents of Santa Rosa's Coffey Park neighborhood asked the council to spend the $27 million PG&E settlement money fixing streets damaged in the fire. Because FEMA denied the city's request to repair damaged sidewalks, these funds would take the burden off homeowners.

"Can you please honor what we all went through together by doing your part to complete the fire recovery efforts in our community," Coffey Park resident Jessica DePrimo said.

"We should not have to be living with the visual memory of road scars, some of which are from our vehicles melting into our streets," said resident and fire survivor Constance Frederick.

"It's all a constant reminder that my family should not have to be reminded of," said Steve Rahmn, the president of Coffey Strong, a neighborhood group for fire survivors.

Rahmn lost his house in the Tubbs fire and has since rebuilt on the same lot.

"Three years ago, everything you see was leveled,"Rahmn said. "It looked like, just dirt."

Rahmn points out where the road is scarred and damaged along his block.

"This is where a car was during the fire, this is metal from the car," Rahmn said. "So every time we walk down here there's a memory of that fire."

The council voted unanimously to use remaining PG&E funds for sidewalk repairs in the Hopper Avenue Corridor, Coffey Park's thoroughfare where a wall was rebuilt in 2019, and other street repairs, landscaping and vegetation restoration in fire-damaged neighborhoods throughout the city. This is hopeful news for residents who are still living with the damages.

"Council as a whole has not forgotten about the trauma that fire survivors have gone through and this is going to hopefully restore what was prior to October 2017," said Council member Tom Schwedhelm of district six. 

Schwedhelm lives near Coffey Park and says he's hoping the fixes are swift but he's still unclear on a timeline.


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