Riverside County supervisors today are expected to approve $130,000 to fund environmental safety testing of structures at a desert mobile home park condemned by the federal government.
The Economic Development Agency is seeking the money to pay for asbestos and lead-based paint inspections on 140 domiciles at the Desert Mobile Home Park — better known as “Duroville” — on the Torres-Martinez Cahuilla Indian Reservation in Thermal.
The county is in the process of demolishing the rotted single- and double-wide trailers — some of them decades old — standing at Duroville. The Department of Environmental Health has already been conducting tests on vacant structures, but additional funds are needed to complete testing on those lean-tos still occupied, officials said.
In December, the Board of Supervisors approved a $341,000 contract with San Pedro-based National Demolition Contractors to dispose of all structures at the 40-acre park, established by Harvey Duro and his family in the late 1990s.
It’s one of several non-permitted parks where migrants and their families reside in the eastern county region.
According to the county, 41 families have left Duroville in recent months, relocating with county assistance to the Mountain View Estates, a sprawling trailer park with modern conveniences at Avenue 70 and Harrison Street in Oasis, developed with public and private financing.
There are 181 spaces available at Mountain View. Duroville residents are being given the option of purchasing new mobile homes at the site via the county’s Mobile Home Tenant Loan Program.
Duroville was declared by a U.S. District Court judge in 2009 to be a public health and safety hazard because of its dilapidated condition, including a faulty electrical system and contaminated drinking water. He placed the facility in federal receivership, appointed new managers, and barred any new tenants on the grounds.
The process of relocating hundreds of existing residents to alternate living quarters has been under way since that time.
According to Housing Authority documents, the clean-up and containment of lead-based paint and asbestos at Duroville could cost upwards of $400,000.