GLIDE — Members of the Glide Rural Fire Protection District hope they will be able to turn the tide as they embark on a third campaign to build or remodel a fire station.
Two close defeats of bond measures in the past four years gnaw at Fire Chief Dan Tilson.
He stated residents tell him they appreciate the district’s 30 volunteer firefighters, but so far they have not voted to provide a new station.
“We’re kind of at a crossroads,” Tilson said. “Either we need to move forward, or we need to figure out what we are going to do for the next five or 10 years.”
This time around, the fire district will try a different approach. With an eye on the November election, officials are soliciting the public’s advice before putting a proposal on the ballot.
“We need to know what people want,” Tilson said.
The district has hired a Portland firm to evaluate the station, project the district’s needs and come up with a plan to meet those needs.
The firm, Group Mackenzie, has designed fire stations in Salem, Keizer, Hillsboro, Clackamas and Lincoln City. The firm will lead a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the fire station.
The firm will present what it has learned so far and several preliminary plans to remodel or replace the station. Residents will be asked to comment on the plans.
At a second meeting, April 18, the firm will come back with options and preliminary cost estimates.
The district’s 6,000-square-foot station was built in 1975, with additions in 1979 and 1993, the district’s business manager, Beth Werner, said.
The district needs at least double that much room to park trucks, store equipment, train fire fighters and hold meetings, she said.
A modular office was added last year so that Tilson and other district administrators could be in the same room when they work at the station on Mondays.
Previously, there was only enough room for three people in a little office and an equal number or more shared space in a portable trailer in back of the station.
The station doesn’t have enough room for its nine vehicles. Firefighters must park one engine under an awning. Bay openings are 9 feet high, 3 feet too low for newer engines.
The district has weekly training meetings on Monday nights. While not all of the 30 members attend every meeting, space is limited. When all of the volunteers need to be there, it’s standing room only.
Tilson and other fire officials want to install quarters so fire fighters and interns can sleep overnight at the station.
In 2008, the fire district sought $3.85 million to construct a 16,000-square-foot station. It would have cost district residents 95 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, paid off over 25 years. It was defeated by 126 votes out of 2,020 votes cast.
Two years ago, voters turned down a $2.95 million bond for a 13,000-square-foot station. It went down by 71 votes out of 1,273 cast.
The difference in votes cast was likely due to the fact the 2008 measure was on the presidential election ballot, while the second vote was in a primary.
It’s likely Group Mackenzie will recommend the district construct a new building, Tilson said.
The existing fire hall does not meet modern building codes and would have to be upgraded if the structure were remodeled, he said.
“There are just too many deficiencies in this building to be able to correct without starting from scratch,” he said.
The district collects $1.07 per $1,000 of assessed value to finance its operations. That rate has remained the same for more than three decades.
Tilson stated the district has spent its money wisely over the years and has put aside about $300,000 that could supplement a bond.
The department recently purchased a new fire engine, paying $270,000 in cash. It was the first time an engine was purchased without using a bond to finance the purchase, Tilson said. It replaced the district’s oldest engine, which was purchased in 1978.
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Submited at Thursday, April 12th, 2012 at 8:00 pm on Uncategorized by robert
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