Business & Development, City & Government, Cottage Grove, Creswell

New fire station plans ‘on ice’

CRESWELL — South Lane County Fire & Rescue will not be pursuing the bond measure for the proposed new fire station in Creswell in November, Division Chief Joe Raade said on Tuesday, citing financial impacts because of the Coronavirus.  

“There are a lot of people unemployed because of the virus, and we want to be sensitive to that,” Raade said. “There was very informal discussion this spring that due to COVID-19 and the economy, they may want to wait for things to get better,” Raade said, and that to his knowledge, “there has been no formal discussion on an anticipated date to ask for the voters to support the station bond.” 

He said he does not know if the district will place it on an upcoming ballot. 

Fire chief John Wooten was at the Creswell City Council in February, pitching for support for the measure, and explained that the 2016 apparatus bond is to be paid off in 2021, and SLCF&R would try to renew it for the facility at the same cost at 30 cents per $1,000. 

The measure would include a retrofit to the Cottage Grove station and an entirely new fire station in Creswell that would become the command post for the whole northside of the district.

A new Creswell Station 203 committee was formed in 2017, including Cottage Grove residents Mike Caven, Dan Duffy, Tom Munroe and Creswell residents Jennifer Radcliffe, Joel Higdon, Richard Zettervall, Elena Connelly and Cathy Morgan. 

Station 203 is sandwiched between City Hall and the Community Center on South 1st Street. The new station may be built at the current location of the city-owned community center, effectively swapping ownership of the two parcels between the City and the fire district.

The new fire station would mean the community center, built in 1980, would be demolished, city manager Michelle Amberg said, and there is no plan for a replacement community center.

The issues with the station have mounted, ranging from size needs to safety issues to staff accommodation and costs. 

Station 203 is approximately 7,000 square feet and only one fire engine can fit into the bays in the building. The station houses an engine, water tender, two medic units, a brush engine and a utility vehicle. 

Wooten said in February that adding additional staffing is not possible in the current situation, which has two full-time residents and up to two resident students. The new station would house six dorm rooms and is proposed at 17,000 square feet. 

The current station has failed a seismic study and the building would likely fall if and when an earthquake strikes. The new station would be able to stand alone with its own generators and fuel,.

The fire board did not respond to Chronicle inquiries about the measure.



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