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Keith Johnson, Deseret Morning News
Trailers line the Provo River in Frazier Park, which Utah County officials ordered vacated after a fire.

PROVO — Jennifer Norris had no idea two weeks ago, snuggled up in her toasty 27-foot trailer at Frazier Park, that she would be starting out the new year homeless.

But that's how it worked out for the 33-year-old mother of two, who, along with about a dozen other residents at the park at 3362 E. Provo Canyon Road, was kicked out of her home three days before Christmas.

"It's been so hard," she said. "People ask me how my holidays have been and I don't know what to say. I spent Christmas in a hotel room."

After Frazier Park's public bathroom went up in flames Dec. 22, Utah County Fire Marshal Dennis Barker ordered the park's power turned off until the restroom's ruined wiring is repaired. Without electricity, Barker said, it's too cold for residents to survive in the canyon.

Norris wasn't worried as she watched the smoke clear and her neighbors pack up their things. Barker gave her permission to stay in the canyon because she had a generator to heat her trailer and holding tanks to keep her supplied with fresh water.

"We kind of argued with them," Norris said. "I own my trailer and I didn't think they had the right to kick us out."

That plan fell through the next day, though, when county representatives informed Norris she needed to shut off her generator and get out of Frazier Park for good. She and the other residents were given until Jan. 17 to get their trailers and belongings off the property.

Frazier Park will not be open for business until the owners work out a tangle of legal issues that have been pending with the county for several years.

Leon Frazier, who has managed the park for the past six years, has been running the park without a business license since 2005, said Robert Moore, deputy Utah County attorney. Moore said Frazier built several structures without obtaining building permits and kept more than the approved number of trailers on the property.

The county has been talking since 2003 with Frazier about cleaning up the park, which is peppered with abandoned vehicles and broken furniture, Moore said.

"There's trash strewn all over — I'm talking a lot of trash," he said. "There's abandoned appliances, abandoned vehicles. You just can't have that."

There are also some questions about the park's septic system, Moore said, although Frazier argues the tanks were rebuilt to meet code several years ago.

Frazier, who spent the past few days driving up and down Provo Canyon trying to sell the unclaimed cars and lugging debris off the property, said he wasn't aware that he needed to reapply for a business license. He believes he has been "deceived and harassed" by the county.

He is candid about the trailer park's questionable reputation, however.

"I'm sorry to say it's kind of a poor park," he said. "I've had a lot of renters — people you wouldn't believe — having raves in the park. People leave stuff when they move out. It's a mess."

At this point, Frazier said he does not intend to reopen the property for renters. He plans to deed management of the land to his brother, who is considering different business options.

In the meantime, only a few of Frazier Park's former tenants have found new homes, said Jessica Embley, director of disaster services for the Mountain Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Ross Housekeeper, who lived at Frazier Park for two years, has been bouncing back and forth between friends' houses for the past two weeks. He hasn't been able to find another park to move his trailer to. Even if he had, he said he doesn't expect it's going to be easy to move his trailer.

"My trailer's buried in 3 feet of ice," he said. "I've got to go out there with a shovel and see if I can even dig it out."

With help from the Red Cross, Norris was finally able to get into a house Sunday. Now she's just worried about getting her trailer — which may be a lost cause — out of the park. Once the heat was turned off, the trailer's plumbing system froze, she said.

Although she said she will miss her home by the river, Norris is mostly just glad she has a reliable pillow under her head at last.

"We're living out of coolers and sleeping on air mattresses, but we're happy," she said. "It's better than a hotel room."


E-mail: estuart@desnews.com