The Facts about the Bond Measure for Replacement of Fire Station 1
1) About your Fire Department.
The Pendleton Fire & Ambulance Department serves more than 20,000 people across a service area of 2,000 square miles. The Department has three fire stations, nine pieces of apparatus, and 21 firefighters. We respond to an average of 3,200 emergency calls every year.
2) An independent firm found safety and structural problems with Fire Station 1.
A nationally-recognized design and engineering firm performed an architectural, structural, and high-level building systems assessment of Fire Station 1. Their report (available here) said that the location of the proposed station will improve response times to emergencies overall.
In addition, it identified major safety and structural problems with the facility that would not be economical to repair:
· Built in 1959, Fire Station 1 does not meet current fire and building codes.
· Due to the age of the facility, the station contains hazardous materials and lacks a proper exhaust removal system for diesel fumes, a known carcinogen for firefighters.
· The station is too small to provide separate quarters for male and female firefighters, and to accommodate the Department’s volunteer and reserve firefighter program.
· Training space is inadequate and the training tower fails to meet current National Fire Protection Association standards. The tower is now used primarily for storage instead of firefighter training.
· The station would provide space for our partners in public safety with a police substation and room for community meetings and firefighter training.
3) The timing is right to replace and equip a new fire station.
Bond rates are at historic lows, and renovation to the current station is not feasible. The longer we wait to replace the station, the more costly it becomes. The Department also needs to replace aging equipment and this bond would fund state-of-the-art life-saving equipment such as heart monitors and the Jaws of Life for motor vehicle accidents.
4) We are accountable to our taxpayers
The City plans to sell the old fire station property, and the proposed new station would have lower maintenance costs and utility bills, estimated at a savings of $50,000 per year. Passage of this measure will increase property taxes approximately $0.62 per $1,000 of assessed property value per year for 20 years. The average assessed value for a single-family dwelling in Pendleton is $155,000. That property owner’s tax assessment would be $8.00/month. With the recent retirement of two bonds, the net increase would be $0.14 per $1,000, or $1.80 per month for that same property.