HUD e-Briefs from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Mary McBride, Region X Regional Administrator (206) 220-5356 Leland Jones, Editor
In late August, HUD Secretary Donovan visited Portland to meet with HUD staff and a roundtable with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and housing industry leaders from throughout the state. REALTORS attended. So did housing counselors and builders and lenders, more than 20 in all. It focused on a broad range of proposed refinancing plans now before the Congress aimed at helping responsible homeowners and struggling communities hit hardest by the housing crisis. Afterwards, the Secretary sat down with Elliot Njus of The Oregonian. He asked Donovan whether government's role in promoting homeownership had changed since the housing crisis. We "need to protect families when they make that decision. In some ways we had more protection for someone buying a toaster than someone buying a home going into the crisis." See the full Oregonian Q-and-A with Secretary Donovan online.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has accepted invitation to deliver the Wednesday morning, October 17th, keynote address at the 2012 Housing Washington Conference. For more, visit the website.
Washington state Attorney General McKenna has announced the award of some $43.8 million in National Mortgage Servicing Settlement funds to 13 organizations to provide a range of foreclosure relief services. The awards, recommended by a citizens committee, include housing counseling, blight reduction, mortgage relief, legal representation, outreach and training. Funded organizations include the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, the Washington Homeownership Resource Center, Resolution Washington, Catholic Charities Housing Services, El Centro de la Raza, Homestead Community Land Trust, the White Center Community Development Association, the City of Tacoma, the Legal Foundation of Washington, Aberdeen Neighborhood Housing Services, HomeSight, Lifelong AIDS Alliance and Spokane Neighborhood Action Partnership. ""I asked experts from a variety of backgrounds to serve on our selection committee," said McKenna. "We received requests for more than three times the amount of funds available," he noted. The National Mortgage Servicing Settlement reached in February, 2012 - the largest Federal-state civil settlement ever - resulted from efforts by the 50 state attorneys general and the Obama Administration against the nation's five largest servicers - Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, Citigroup Inc., and Ally Financial Inc. (formerly GMAC).- for mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses. For more on the announcement by Attorney General McKenna, visit the website.
For years, housing developers in Alaska have had to look to the Lower 48 for ideas and innovations. But no more. Why? Simple. Designs and materials, techniques and technologies that make sense in Waco or Waycross don't work as well or last as long in Ketchikan or Kotzebue. Which is why HUD Alaska's Office of Native American Programs and the Alaska Association of Housing Authorities are convening a conference September 25th to 27th in Anchorage focused on "expanding the production of durable, affordable, energy-efficient and healthy homes" that make sense in Arctic and sub-Arctic climes. To join them, visit the website.
Seattle Housing Authority celebrates completion of its Rainier Vista neighborhood transformation project...Governor Gregoire announces award of $6.7 million from Housing Trust Fund to four Communities of Concern that will construct 264 affordable housing units in Clallam and King counties and 20 units for homeless vets in Snohomish county and rehab of 24 units for homeless vets in Cowlitz county... HUD awards total of $717,821 to Vancouver, Lummi Nation and Puyallup Tribal housing authorities to help public housing residents find jobs and achieve economic and housing independence. USDA Rural Development awards grants to "economically distressed" communities to, in one grant, Ontario, Nyssa, Vale and Adrian in Oregon and Payette, Fruitland and New Plymouth in Idaho and, in a second, to Bandon, Myrtle Point, Coos Bay, Coquille, Reedsport, Winston, Elkton and North Bend - to help them "attract and retain residents, and build on existing assets to compete"... Kelso Housing Authority's Columbia Apartments, built in 1920's, awarded Washington Department of Commerce CDBG grant for new roof and hot water heaters...Thanks to Seattle Mayor McGinn and the City Council, says Puget Sound Business Journal, Capitol Hill Housing's 12th Street Project will break ground this fall to provide 88 units of affordable housing and performance space for three award-winning theater companies - New Century Theatre Company, Strawberry Theatre Workshop and Washington Ensemble Theatre. . .Cedar Sinai Park, says Portland Daily Journal of Commerce, will rehab 89-unit1200 Building for seniors and extend HUD affordable rental subsidies for another 20 years...Telling Juneau Empire that "there's been no supportive housing for seniors built in this town since 1988," St. Vincent de Paul's Dan Austin says its Smith Hall housing could add 12 units of accessible housing built to LEED standards in Mendenhall Valley.
.SAVE THE DATE
If you were listening to NPR news on the evening of July 30th, you may have heard that, at 101, Mary K. Rasmuson had passed at her home in Anchorage. In 49 of the 50 states, many listeners may have wondered "who?" But not in Alaska where she moved in 1962 after serving as the fifth Commandant of the Women's Army Corps. She and her late husband Elmer, chairman of the National Bank of Alaska, were a "formidable team" and, no surprise, she's left behind a formidable legacy. You can catch a glimpse of it from a list of grants and loans the Rasmuson Foundation awarded just before she died. To expand enrollment at Alaska Pacific University. To renovate the Brother Francis Shelter in Kodiak. To help RurALCAP make improvements in Head Start facilities in rural villages. For breast imaging equipment at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Clinic. For a day shelter for women and children in Juneau. To furnish and equip a dental clinic in Mat-Su. For expansion of a public library on the Kenai Peninsula. All told, she helped direct more than $200 million in resources to Alaska non-profits and communities, reaching, said her step-son Ed Rasmuson, "every corner" of Alaska. "She loved Alaska." On September 10th there will be a memorial service for Mrs. Rasmuson at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Anchorage. "All," says a Foundation press release, "are invited."
Margaret Van Vliet, director of Oregon Housing & Community Services, has been in the affordable housing business for 20 years. But 2012, her first as director of OHCS, may have been her most challenging. As she - and we - have seen before, the demand for affordable housing always outpaces the supply. Ditto in 2012 as OHCS received twice as many applications and two-and-a-half times the amount of funds it had to award. "I found it disheartening," she wrote in a letter to partners, to see so many worthy projects go unfunded, especially at a time when the need in our communities is so great." Understandable, of course. But $36.4 million awarded to build or rehab 802 units in 21 communities is still a whole lot of something and a lot better than nothing.. Thanks, OHCS.
"Affordable housing," Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services' Jim Moorefield told Joce DeWitt of The Corvallis Gazette, "is the most complex work I've done in my life." "This work is not easy," added a colleague.t. But there are 49 families happy - very happy - that he keeps doing it. No wonder. They've just moved into - or are about to - one of 49 brand-new two- or three-bedroom apartments that comprise the Alexander-Seavey project. With funding from Oregon Housing & Community Services and the City, its Corvallis' newest neighborhood, one of the answers, says The Gazette, to the city's "lack of affordable, safe and eco-friendly housing." Tanzie Lee, 13, would agree. At the grand opening she offered tours to anyone and everyone who wanted to see her family's new home, leaving "no closet door or kitchen cabinet unopened." The home, she said, "is perfect.." Ditto, added Mayor Julie Manning. "The fact that these houses are offered at a fraction of the market rate is simply the icing on the cake. These new homes mean that 49 families will find it easier to manage their housing expenses while they go to school, receive job training, raise their children and further establish their lives in our community." "Not easy"? No question. "Complex"? No doubt. But when the key goes in the door, it's the "Wow, this is perfect" that makes you one to get up the next day and want to do it all over again.
BACK TO COOL TIME
Bill Williams is ready to move on. As summer ends and the cool begins to set in, he and his crew of up to 24 workers are finishing the weatherization of 30 homes in Noorvik and 24 in Kiana in the Kobuk River valley through the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation weatherization project which also receives funding from the National Indian Health Association and HUD. Up to $30,000 is spent on each home and Williams says it's a good investment. "Fuel can get pretty expensive out there" at "around $7 a gallon," he told The Arctic Sounder. "When it gets 40 below and you are using 5 gallons of a fuel a day to stay warm, you can do the math." And it's not just good for the houses or the people who call them home, he says. "The wags paid to the crew, most from the villages, "puts a lot of money into the village economy. It's good for everyone."
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
HUD okays $2.9 economic development loan funded in Lakewood created under HUD's Section 108 Loan Guarantee program...Mayor Sullivan joins NeighborWorks Anchorage for the grand opening of the Roosevelt Apartments, a 10-unit, HUD-funded complex for people with disabilities...Paul G. Allen Family Foundation awards total of $550,000 to Downtown Emergency Service Center, Hopelink, Bellingham Food Bank, Solid Ground and Food Lifeline to "continue providing meaningful and measurable help to people struggling in the Puget Sound region" . . .After 10 years of hard work, says Coeur d'Alene Press, Union Gospel Mission opens $8.5 million center for women and children, "ushering a new era for recovery programs in Coeur d'Alene...Umpqua NeighborWorks unveils plans to build two "deep green" single-family homes in Roseburg with labor provided by Umpqua Community College green building program and Wolf Creek Job Corps students...TriCity Herald gives "thumbs up" to Broetie Orchards as a "model of corporate social responsibility" for "donating 50 percent of its profits to good works"' and "investing millions in affordable housing for low-income families"...Wells Fargo awards total of $510,000 to Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Bend, Cottage Grove, Hillsboro, McMinnville, Medford, Molalla, Mt. Angel, Redmond, Salem, The Dalles and Vancouver...Treasury's CDFI program awards total of $5.3 million Cook Inlet Lending Center, Alaska Growth Capital and Coastal Village Community Development Fund in Alaska, the Nez Perce and Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services in Pocatello, Microenterprise Services and HDC Community Fund in Portland and the North Central Washington Business Fund in Chelan, Craft3 in Ilwaco, Thurston Union of Low-Income People in Olympia, Northwest Native Development Fund in Nespelem and the Chehalis Tribal Loan Fund in Oakville to promote "job creation and economic growth" in distressed communities...King County Housing Authority completes construction of new community center at Firwood Circle, a 50-unit public housing complex in Auburn, that, says the Authority's Stephen Norman, will give kids an opportunity to "have fun while acquiring skills".
The Seattle Housing Authority is one of nine authorities across the country selected as a finalist in the 2012 competition for HUD Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant. Building on the success of HUD's HOPE VI Revitalization Grant program, Choice Neighborhoods promotes comprehensive approaches " to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods." This year's competition received 42 applications from around the country. The eight other finalists this year competing for a total of $110 million in funding are the housing authorities of Chicago, the District of Columbia, Jersey City, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Tampa and Community Builders of Boston. "I applaud these finalists and all of the applicants who committed an extraordinary amount of energy and effort on plans to create better housing and even greater neighborhoods," said HUD Secretary Donovan. " Last year the Seattle Housing Authority was one of five organizations to win HUD's first Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants. For more, visit the website.
These days local governments everywhere are having trouble making ends meet. Probably to its delight, last month Wapato's City Council recently enjoyed a rare respite from budget-cutting pressures when it found itself, reported Phil Ferolito of The Yakima Herald Republic with $30,000 generated through interest earned on an old housing rehabilitation fund. How to spend it? Well, the Council voted for new radios and safety vests for police officers and breathing apparatus for firefighters and to fix a couple of sidewalks downtown. With the balance, it bought paint enough for 13 houses of residents who couldn't afford to do it themselves. "They'd already started scraping," said Mayor Jesse Fairas, "and realized that the cost of the paint was a little out of their reach." They're also getting a break on labor costs since the plan approved by the Council last month also included using inmates from the city jail. And they don't seem to mind doing it. "Work kills time," said one. "It's all for a good cause," said another. "We're just out trying to help the public out, keeping everything looking nice and neat."
In an age when budgeteers have moved from millions to billions, from billions to trillions and are now beginning to throw quadrillions - 1,000 trillions - into their equations, it's pretty nice to realize a mere $2,400 can still go a pretty long way to make people happy. Like the 70 or so kids ages 5 to 12 who live at Tamarack Apartments, a public housing complex in Portland, and dream of scoring the goal that wins the World Cup. Unable to get time on overbooked soccer fields in nearby city parks, says Casey Parks of The Oregonian, they've had to play "in the space in between their apartments." Thanks to Neighbor-to-Neighbor grant program started by Home Forward last year to provide small grants for resident projects that would improve their neighborhoods they won't have to anymore. When the opportunity came along, the kids jumped at the chance, helping to write the application and, to their delight, were among the first 10 winning awards. The new playing surface and professional size "goals," adds Parks, ‘were prize enough." But that $2,400 went even further when Fernando Machado, a member of the board of the Portland Timbers Army and the "burly, tattooed, axe wielder you see on Timbers billboards", heard what the kids had done. Along came cleats and soccer balls and, oh yeah, a new coach - Mr. Machado. It's been good for 7-year-old Isaac's game. "He taught me how to run with the ball and do tricks," he told Parks. Good for the neighborhood, too. "I see people interacting now," said one resident, "that I honestly had never seen much before." Good program, good sport, good kids and a good story. See it in full online.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation launches on-line checklist for potential homebuyers to see if the house of their dreams is energy-efficient...Transitions for Women in Spokane selects Edie Rice-Sauer to succeed executive director Dia Maurer when she steps down September 1st. . .Frank Roppel of Wrangell reelected as chair of the board of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, a position he's held since his appointment to the board by Governor Murkowski in 2003...Habitat for Humanity$1.88 million under Treasury's New Markets Tax Credit program to build 23 new home which, says Portland Business Journal, will increase chapters "annual construction by 50 percent"...City of Wenatchee fixes up 44th home under its HUD-funded Housing Rehabilitation Program, a "sad-looking house with ad damaged entryway, an overhang that could fall down, unfinished rooms, water damage from a leaky roof and asbestos siding that is starting to come off," reports The World... Lots of candles to be blown out in Oregon in September as Rose CDC celebrates its 20th anniversary, Makah Tribe celebrates grand opening of Sail Heights housing development and groundbreaking for new Wellness Center...REACH CDC celebrates its 30th, Central City Concern celebrates the 40th of the Hooper Detox Center in Old Town Portland...Washington State Housing Finance Commission secures $20.4 million in tax-exempt bond and low-income housing tax credit funds to substantially upgrade 378 units for the elderly, add a fitness center and computer lab and replace exteriors and roofs at Park Court, Meeker Court and Green River Court apartments in Seattle...Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries tells KOIN-TV southeast Portland apartment complex to pay $75,000 penalty for "not approving a resident's request to bring in a therapy dog"...King County Executive Constantine says Raikes Foundation and United Way of King County award County $1.5 million to "keep kids from falling into homelessness"...Tom Unger, a founding member of the Ketchum CDC, passes away on July 30th and is remembered by a colleague in Idaho Mountain Express as an "amazing asset" who was the "embodiment of what makes this community such a good place to live".
RULES OF THE GAMES
It's that time again, folks. HUD's just published the general section of the Notice of Funding Availability for fiscal year 2013. No funds are attached to this particular notice, just a bunch of rules and regulations, policies and procedures that will govern any and all of the 30 or so funding competitions HUD for which HUD will seek applications during the fiscal year that begins just a few weeks from now on October 1st. We'll admit, it's not the kind of reading you'll want to do just before bed or while you're at the beach. But if you want to compete for HUD funds, this is a book you'll want to crack, stating NOW! For more visit the website.
DON'T BE SHY
Ready to join the Inno-Nation? Because HUD's looking for bright ideas and, if you don't mind a bit of a boast, there's probably no better place to look than among HUD's partners in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Partners, that is, like you. The concept is pretty simple. HUD's launched Innovation of the Day, a new online platform that will collect and share innovative practices in affordable housing, community development, and urban planning. Obviously, it'll serve as a show-case, but just as importantly as a data base where folks can go to find, bold, innovative ideas that, as Secretary Donovan has said, will "stimulate uncommon solutions to our everyday problems," We know you've got lots of ideas and we hope you'll feel free to share them. You can start by visiting online. And please remember - DON'T BE SHY!
WORTH A READ
"Seattle Housing Authority's Yesler Terrace project is a bold, ambitious promise to do more than rebuild the complex's World War II-era apartments. It will also revitalize the community. The 561 low-rise wooden units at Yesler Terrace are worn with failing water and sewer systems. But SHA is right to reject a paternalistically narrow view of public housing that would simply have it replacing the units. Indeed, the agency will rebuild all of the units, some a couple of blocks away. But a redevelopment plan calling for mixed-income housing, parks and other amenities is a broader, smarter move. Plans to sell parts of Yesler's 30 acres to private developers for 3,000 condos creates a private-public partnership that leverages taxpayer dollars. Funds from Seattle's housing levy are an appropriate use here. The levy is for building affordable housing. SHA has had successes revamping public housing into vibrant, mixed-income communities, including at New Holly, High Point and Rainier Vista. It is a welcome shift away from concentrating families in low-income neighborhoods, which often isolate those who need subsidies to keep a roof over their heads. The Seattle City Council Thursday gave initial approval to the Yesler plan. A final council vote set for Sept. 4 should move the project into action. All Yesler Terrace residents will be able to return to the community, if not on-site then a few blocks away. Moving expenses will be paid. Every resident will receive relocation counseling, in their own language if they are non-English speaking. Construction will be done in stages so residents who want to stay on-site can by moving to an available unit. The city and housing authority appear to be working with residents in good faith. It is a safe bet that private developers will be interested in the hilltop property, with its view of downtown and Puget Sound. Other neighborhoods, such as Belltown, have made themselves over. Yesler's proximity to the Chinatown International District and south Capitol Hill gives it a good chance of becoming another community success story." -- Keep Yesler Terrace Revitalization Moving, Seattle Times, August 18, 2012.
HUD has posted updated Market-at-a-Glance reports for the Bend, Bremerton, Corvallis, Portland, Spokane & Tri-Cities Metropolitan Statistical Areas online.
Good news! Even after an initial 15-year required ‘affordability period, the vast majority of properties built under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program "remain affordable for working families, a new HUD report online. Not so good is the possibility, its authors say, that "once all additional state and local use restrictions expire" on the nation's 2.2 million LIHTC units " more than a million units of affordable housing could become market-rate properties that lower income families may no longer be able to afford." It's "a wake up call," says HUD Secretary Donovan. "State Housing Finance Agencies must do everything they can to protect the opportunities for working families to live in neighborhoods they might otherwise not be able to afford."
"Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce President Kate McAlister wasn't expecting it when a woman in her 60s walked up to her at a community function, hugged her and started crying. "She said, 'I want you to know that because of what you did, for the first time in all our lives I can take my partner to a Christmas party without fear of beingfired,'" McAlister recalled." -The Spokesman Review, August 5, 2012, on passage of an ordinance by the City of Sandpoint prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation. Sandpoint, said The Spokesman Review, is the first city in Idaho to adopt such a ban." Pocatello is now drafting a similar ordinance," it added, and "Boise is now looking into an ordinance."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Most of our homeowners came here with nothing," said Theresa Richardson, executive director for Habitat for Humanity. "They work hard to own their own home. None have ever defaulted on a loan and we couldn't be more proud of them." - Theresa Richardson, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of the Tri-Cities on a picnic it recently hosted in Richland for the 76 families - from "Vietnam, Russia, Turkey, Thailand, Armenia, Nigeria, Laos, Philippines, Uzbekistan, Sudan, Kenya, Myanmar, Mexico, Afghanistan and the U.S." - that the chapter has helped to become homeowners. - Tri City Herald, August 18th, 2012.
NOTES TO NOTE
FHA issues Mortgagee Letter 12-15 on August 17th clarifying documentation requirements for income from Social Security Administration for qualification process...City of Seattle sets September 7th deadline to apply for $17 million in capital funds to support the production and preservation of rental housing. . .Treasury sets September 12th deadline to submit program applications for up to $5 billion in CDFI New Markets Tax Credits to spur "investment of private sector capital into distressed communities by providing a tax credit to corporate or individual taxpayers who make qualified equity investments in designated Community Development Entities"...Housing Assistance Council sets September 16th deadline to submit nominations for 2012 Rural Housing Awards...USDA sets September 17th deadline to apply for $27.9 million in loans & grants to expand supply of off-farm housing for farm workers...Housing Assistance Council sets September 30th deadline for 2012 Rural Housing Awards...Portland Housing Bureau sets October 1st deadline to apply for Multiple-Unit Tax Exemptions...HUD Office of Native American Programs sets October 16th deadline to apply for $7.3 million in training and technical assistance grants..
Alaska State Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator hosts 2012 Access Conference, September 10th to 13th, Anchorage.
HUD Portland hosts free financial management & governance training to HUD partners & grantees, September 10th to 14th, Portland.
Rural Community Assistance Corporation hosts National Conference on Affordable Housing in High Cost Areas, September 11th & 12th, Honolulu.
Oregon Opportunity Network hosts public forum on Portland Housing Bureau's Equity Framework for Housing, September 11th, Portland.
Native PTAC hosts Native American & Veteran Small Business Conference &Tradeshow, September 11th to 13th, Tulalip.
Annual Conference of Alaska Association of REALTORS, September 11th to 14th, Gridwood.
FHA Webinar - FHA Claims, September 12th, on-line.
Annual meeting of Northwest Indian Housing Association, September 12th & 13th, Grand Ronde.
HUD hosts Webinar on Basics of Fair Housing, September 13th, on-line.
FHA hosts Webinar on its Energy Efficient Mortgage Product, September 13th, on-line.
Oregon AHMA hosts workshops on Fair Housing and Reasonable Accommodations, September 13th, Grants Pass.
2012 Housing Land Advocates annual conference, September 14th, Portland.
Washington Mortgage Lenders Association hosts 35th anniversary Pacific Northwest Mortgage Lenders Conference, September 17th to 19th.
Annual conference of Idaho Association of Counties, September 17th to 19th, Sun Valley.
Native American Indian Housing Council hosts workshop on Development, Modernization & Force Account Construction, September 18th to 21st, Anchorage.
Tri-Regional Lead Conference, September 19th to 21st, Portland.
HUD Spokane hosts Basics of Fair Housing Workshop, September 20th, Spokane.
Oregon AHMA hosts workshop on Fair Housing: History & Trends, September 21st, Salem.
HUD Seattle hosts Davis-Bacon & Federal Labor Standards Workshop for Public & Tribal Housing Authorities, September 24th, Seattle.
HUD Alaska hosts Conference on Developing Alaskan Sustainable Housing, September 25th to 27th, Anchorage.
Oregon Opportunity Network hosts Fall Industry Support Conference, September 25th, Portland.
Fall Business Conference of Washington Association of REALTORS, September 26th, Yakima.
Oregon AHMA offers workshop on Mixed Funding Focus Class on HOME/LIHTC Projects, September 26th, Keizer.
Idaho State Nonprofit Conference, September 27th & 28th, Boise.
87th annual conference of Oregon League of Cities, September 27th to 29th, Salem.
Native American Indian Housing Council hosts conference on Developing Sustainable Tribal Housing, September 26th & 27th, Seattle.
Coeur d'Alene hosts Veterans Stand Down, September 29th, Coeur d'Alene.
Annual Conference of Main Street Oregon, October 3rd to 5th, Corvallis.
Idaho Conference on Housing & Economic Development, October 9th & 10th, Boise.
Annual conference of Alaska Coalition on Housing & Homelessness, October 10th to 12th, Anchorage.
Annual conference of Idaho chapter of American Planning Association, October 10th to 12th, Boise.
Oregon AHMA offers USDA Section 515 "Boot Camp," October 10th to 12th, Keizer.
Annual conference of Washington chapter of American Planning Association, October 11th & 12th, Olympia.
Coalition for a Livable Future hosts Regional Livability Conference, October 12th, Portland.
Annual conference of Oregon Economic Development Association, October 14th to 16th, Pendleton.
Washington State Housing Finance Commission hosts Housing Washington conference, October 15th to 17th, Tacoma.
Annual conference of Alaska Federation of Natives, October 18th to 20th, Anchorage.
EcoDistrict Summit, October 23rd to 26th, Portland.
National Trust for Historic Preservation hosts national Preservation Conference, October 31st to November 3rd, Spokane.
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