Early unofficial primary results showed the Aurora fire district levy down 22 points counting votes from both Clackamas and Marion Counties with later counts showing only one vote ahead but by Wednesday morning the measure failed by nine votes.
The results as of Wednesday morning were 615 for and 624 against.
"I'm disappointed, but the people have spoken," said Chief Joshua Williams. "We're going to re-evaluate and see what changes we need to make."
The levy would have increased staffing to nine full-time firefighters from the current four, and pay for medical tools and safety equipment and repairs. The current levy is 49 cents per $1,000 assessed value. The 50 cent increase would have replaced the levy approved in 2013 and due to end in 2020.
"We have a little time left. We went out early to regroup and change. The vote tally shows that in a smaller community every vote matters, especially when there's a low turnout," Williams told the Herald.
This story was updated with the latest results.