Oregon City residents walking along the McLoughlin Promenade may have noticed all the wood that is being brought in and placed on top of two structures in the former Blue Heron paper mill.
No, it's not that there's remodeling being done on some of the buildings that were purchased out of a bankruptcy auction by developer George Heidgerken for $2.2 million in 2014.
The real reason for all the wood is that the property has been leased to Clackamas Fire for a training exercise. Starting at 9 a.m. Aug. 29-31 and Sept. 5-7 various firefighting jurisdictions will converge at the former paper plant to burn the wood and learn techniques for fighting fires.
Firefighters from Clackamas Fire, Canby Fire, Estacada Rural Fire District #69, Gladstone Fire, Lake Oswego Fire, Portland Fire and Tualatin Valley Fire will practice their skills in commercial roof ventilation, large-area interior building searches in low visibility, hose deployments into multiple stories and long distances, and setting up for defensive fire operations.
All the wood will be removed after the training, which consists of smoke venting of the structures.
Clackamas Fire spokesman Steve Hoffeditz said the final drills are called, "Down and Dirty," which are scenario based, with several fire apparatus, and are designed to test firefighter's ability to work together in coordination with other area fire departments. The Clackamas Fire Training Division will evaluate firefighters for skill proficiency and to address any identified challenges that may present themselves when dealing with large-scale, complex commercial occupancies.
The public can expect to see smoke coming from these buildings during the training. Hoffeditz asked residents to please keep their windows closed during that time to prevent smoke from entering into homes and businesses.
Oregon City Building Official Mike Roberts said that no permits were necessary for conducting the trainings in the two structures, the Filter Plant and the warehouse section of the No. 3 Paper Machine.