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Molalla Fire District Levy appears passing with more than 56 percent of the primary vote

Molalla voters gave the city's fire district a 33 cent raise with an unofficial count of 1,475 votes, or 56 percent of the vote.

This will raise the levy from its current 43 cents to 76 cents per $1,000 assessed home value. Using the average home's assessed value of $170,000, the typical homeowner will spend $130 per year, about $11 per month more than currently.

It also will have an effect on homeowner and fire insurance, either staying the same or actually dropping from current levels because staffing is assured.

"We have the ability to keep staffing levels stable, and keep ambulances well-staffed 24 hours a day," said Brice Estabrook, a firefighter/paramedic at the Molalla Fire District. "Even better," he added, "it's likely insurance rates will stay the same or go down because we get to keep everyone."

The levy will pay for three firefighter/paramedics that had been paid for with a federal SAFER grant that expires this year and isn't renewable. Without it, six of the district's 11 firefighter/paramedics would have had to be laid off.

With the levy's passage the six advanced life support skills personnel will remain on the staff, allowing at least one ALS to be with each paramedic per trip. It also will ensure quicker response times and the ability to transfer patients to hospitals without cutting into staffing levels.

Molalla's firefighters and paramedics service an area more than 100 square miles, including Molalla, Mulino and surrounding areas, as well as providing ambulance service to 350 square miles taking in portions of neighboring fire districts and unprotected wilderness areas.

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