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106 hours later, a new house
TV reality show - Experts say an old Corvallis house was a danger to a young girl's fragile immune system
When members of the Byers family return from Disney World later this week, they won't recognize their moldy, dry-rot-stricken Corvallis home. Beginning today, about 2,000 volunteers -- including Oregon State University's NCAA champion baseball team, swinging demolition bats -- will transform the house in exactly 106 work hours for ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." It's the first episode of the reality show to be shot in the state.

"The old barn-raisings were a community event where everybody got together," said Jim Chapman, president of Legend Homes of Portland, the contractor on the project. "That's how we're looking at this. I'm hoping it inspires the rest of the state to do something like this."

The show builds homes for disadvantaged families. The Byerses fit the bill.

Eight-year-old Jenessa was diagnosed with a rare aggressive cancer in January 2006. Nicknamed Boey, "the little warrior," by friends, she endured a year of chemotherapy and radiation, then became active in the fight against cancer. She started a foundation and has visited other cancer patients. Her cancer recently returned.

Rob and Rachel Byers bought the house on Northeast Granger Road as a fixer-upper, but mounting medical bills shelved that dream. Health care experts told the family that the home is dangerous to Jenessa's fragile immune system. The structure is filled with toxic mold and has dry rot, a faulty electrical system and an unstable foundation.

Her brother Joe, 12, suffers from asthma and has been living with his grandparents to avoid the home's unhealthy air.

The show's producers whisked the family away Sunday. They have no idea what they will find when they return Saturday morning.

"They have no clue what's being built, what it's going to look like, what's in it or anything about it, except their old house is going away while they are on vacation," Chapman said.

Chapman met the Byerses on Saturday while they were packing. "They were awfully excited, I can tell you that," he said. "They are coming from a very desperate situation."

The home sits on a gorgeous two-acre lot with a creek running through the back, he said. "But the house has some serious problems."

Chapman said he normally would shy away from attempting such a project in five days, but the sheer number of volunteers, including 45 framers, and the commitment of the subcontractors and suppliers give him confidence the job can be done, and done right.

Designer Mark Stewart of Tualatin also designed a home for a "Makeover" episode shot in Oklahoma.

"They're getting a custom home," Chapman said. "It's a pretty amazing feat."

Written By:  http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1183951515281360.xml&coll=7 
Date Posted: 2007-07-09  

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