At a newly revamped house on 437 S. Main St., staff from Operation Fresh Start and the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development joined local officials in reflecting on the half-year it took to make the building suitable for a family in need of workforce housing.

It’s the first house the organizations have worked on in Oregon.

OFS is a countywide program that mentors at-risk youth from ages 16-24. Over the summer and fall, it had 50 of those youths completely overhaul the home.

The home will be put on the market for $180,000, WFHD executive director Kathy Kamp told the Observer. That’s in contrast to most of the housing market in Oregon, Kamp said. The average home in the Village of Oregon is valued at $305,000, according to village statistics compiled this fall.

That cost threshold, Kamp said, has created a situation where the people who work in Oregon can’t afford to live here.

She said the South Main Street space is intended to help remedy that problem – though the community still has a long way to go.

The house is equipped with two bedrooms, one bathroom and a half bath in the basement. It has a washer and dryer in the unit and has a kitchen complete with stove, microwave and refrigerator. It has two stories – three if you include the basement.

Kevin Gutierrez, an OFS staff member from Madison took the Observer on a tour of the home and said the OFS team installed the trimming on the floors and painted the house walls. He said the railing along the stairs took one of the staff members around a week to sand down.

Downstairs, the dozens of people who showed up to the open house event to see the home were gathered in the kitchen with refreshments donated by Firefly Coffeehouse and Artisan Cheese.

They stood on a tile floor the OFS staff installed and against the counter they assembled. Gutierrez said OFS staff put together the kitchen cabinets.

More visitors socialized in the living room with carpeting the same color as in the bedrooms upstairs.

Gutierrez reminisced about the last few months of working on the house and said the experience has taught him in particular about how to better express himself and communicate with others.

“It feels really nice … knowing that a family is going to live here,” Gutierrez said.

Email Emilie Heidemann at or follow her on Twitter at @HeidemannEmilie.