Members reluctant to propose another bond measure for 2014

When Bob Morrisey was promoted to Estacada Fire District chief earlier this year, he knew there would be some challenges involved.

Now, after several months on the job, he’s facing continued issues with the facilities, the continued rejection of bond levies by voters and upcoming union negotiations.

Bob MorriseyDuring a Thursday, Dec. 20, meeting, Morrisey presented options to the district’s board of directors regarding improvements for the fire station. He had originally hoped to form a citizens advisory committee as part of the process, but that is on hold for now.

“I think there are still more questions that need to be answered,” Morrisey said. “I’m not sure what to do yet with the external group and when that will be taken care of. There’s still more information that I need to gather. I have to figure out how to facilitate these groups and who that person is going to be.”

An internal workgroup of district stakeholders is likely to convene in the spring, Morrisey said. In the meantime, the board has directed him to move forward with the purchase of some furniture for the station and make whatever repairs can possibly be made to the existing facility.

“It’s all just one big plan on how to make sure we can continue functioning,” he said. “We have to maintain the facility. We have to do whatever we can do until we come up with another solution.”

Further complicating matters was the recent discovery of severe plumbing issues at the station.

“I have a sneaking suspicion that the pipes under the concrete are rotted out,” Morrisey said. “If we end up having to replace the pipes under the concrete, that could be significant.”

This all adds up to a situation where repairs still need to be made, but officials are reluctant to invest much money in doing so if there’s still the possibility that a new station may be built.

“We can throw Band-Aids on the fire station, but the structure still is what it is,” Morrisey said. “It still doesn’t meet our needs. There’s still going to have to be some changes.”

During the Dec. 20 meeting, Morrisey raised the prospect of attempting to pass another levy in 2014. However, some board members were reluctant to pursue that as an option.

“It’s not clear yet when we will actually go out,” he said. “There needs to be a lot of work done before we actually go out again. You get so many different ideas with a board of directors, and there needs to be more work done and we have to come to a consensus on what direction we’re going to take.”

A special board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 3. It will involve union negotiations, and will be held in executive session.

The fire district board of directors will have its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at the fire station.

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