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On Flag Day, an American flag was raised in northeast Corvallis to celebrate an open house for a housing project.

It all made sense, though.

The final 13 units of the Seavey Meadows development opened earlier in the year, but Wednesday was saved for the festivities, because seven of the 13 units are occupied by veterans.

“I love it,” said Marine Corps veteran Rob Bennett, a former fisherman who had a heart attack last September and was living at Community Outreach Inc. before being accepted at Seavey Meadows. “It’s got peace, serenity, a great view out the back and a garden space to work in.”

Five members of Bravo Company of the Oregon Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry based in Corvallis were on hand to raise the flag, which was delivered to the event by June Chada of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden’s office.

The emphasis on assisting veterans gave the remarks an air of Veterans Day or Memorial Day speeches, but it all seemed to fit on this cloudy, breezy day with approximately 75 people on hand.

Samaritan Health Services CEO Larry Mullins, a Marine veteran, noted the importance of finding answers to the problem of homeless veterans. And he emphasized some good news: that homelessness among vets is declining in Oregon.

Garrick Harmel of Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services, which developed Seavey Meadows with a platoon of partners, invoked “Star Wars” by noting that affordable housing is often “built on hope.”

Harmel said Seavey Meadows shows that “the interests of veterans and families do matter. Home matters. And it all starts with hope.”

Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber, whose father went to West Point (an illness prevented the mayor from pursuing that goal), noted that “there is a tremendous need for this sort of thing. It is critical to Corvallis, where we have a substantial housing problem. Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services does this over and over again for the city of Corvallis.”

Kent Weiss, the city’s housing and neighborhood services division manager, noted the quality of the project while touring the facility’s community room.

“This isn’t generally what people think of when they think of low-income housing,” said Weiss, whose office works annually to find worthwhile projects on which to spend federal housing funds the city receives. 

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Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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