Congressman Griffin Proposes Empty Exxon Homes in Mayflower for Tornado Victims

MAYFLOWER, AR -- Scores of families across Mayflower have no home tonight as a result of the tornado, and one local congressman says he has a perfect place for them to live -- homes left empty after last year's oil spill.

"I think it's a great idea," said Emily McElroy whose parents live in the River Plantation neighborhood in Mayflower. "I think people need houses and there's empty houses here in town"

McElroy's home only received minor damage, but others here were completely destroyed and residents face the prospect of starting over.

"The closer you can be the better," she said. "There's some people moving to Maumelle, so if you can stay in Mayflower stay in Mayflower."

To help locals do just that Congressman Tim Griffin is looking to the Northwoods subdivision.

"We've got demand as a result of the tornado," he said. "We have a supply as a result of Exxon owning these empty homes."

Exxon Mobil bought about 20 homes in Northwoods from residents wanting to get out after last years oil spill.

Recently Griffin approached Exxon representatives with a proposal to move tornado victims into the company's homes.

"They were responsive," Griffin said of Exxon. "I think they were positive in their response, but they haven't said yes yet."

McElroy hopes they do making recovery just a little easier for folks in a town where luck hasn't been on their side.

"We're just getting ready to move on from the oil spill and this happened, but we'll move on from it too," she said.

With regard to Congressman Griffin's proposal, an ExxonMobile spokesman said Monday "we're currently evaluating options."

Griffin says details about what if anything residents, their insurance companies or the government would have to pay to live in the homes would still have to be worked out.

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