Oliver, Shapiro enter race for Fire Board Position 2
Boris Shapiro and Ken Oliver are running for Position 2 on the Estacada Rural Fire District Board of Directors. Oliver is the owner of KO Custom Fab, past president of the Estacada Volunteer Association and a water tender driver for the district. Shapiro is a software engineer.
The Estacada News spoke to both candidates about the issues facing the fire district, the feasibility study with Clackamas Fire and several other topics. Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Estacada News: Why are you running for the Estacada Fire Board?
Boris Shapiro: We have a really nice facility and a lot of nice equipment, but not enough fire fighters. I'd like to be able to make that change and somehow raise more funds to get more firefighters in our town. The town is growing and we definitely need more support. It's a big concern for me, and I'd like to get something done about it.
Ken Oliver: It's a way I can continue to serve the fire department. I've been a volunteer for 25 years, and it's the best hobby in the world. My favorite part is driving the fire engines. Not many people can say they've done that in their lives.
EN: What are some of the most pressing issues for the district?
Shapiro: Definitely lack of members. There are people out there that complain about it.
Oliver: The budget is a big one, and the IGA with Clackamas is certainly something that will come to a head soon. Lack of volunteers is one of the biggest issues. With more volunteers we could get more rigs out the door, and we wouldn't need Clackamas Fire.
Shapiro: I'm not aware about the study, so I can't really comment. I know the city is growing, and I think we'll get to the point where we'll have enough firefighters to cover town, but I don't know how long that will take. I don't think it would be good to merge with Clackamas. If we stay local, it would be much easier for the town and community to support. It's much more of a community feel.
Oliver: Doing the feasibility study is a good idea. Putting together options for the future is important. If we need to merge someday, it doesn't have to be Clackamas Fire. We saw the take over with Boring, and from what I hear, it didn't leave a good taste for many. If we merge, the volunteer program will totally change. . .in the past, most people volunteered to serve the community, learn another skill and maybe get a paid position. Now, it's 'What's in it for me?'
Integration would not be my first choice, but if elected, I will make the choice that's best for our community. I wouldn't vote no (on a merger with Clackamas fire) if that's what's best for the community, but I think there are better options.
EN: What are the district's strengths, and where is an area the district could improve?
Shapiro: What I like about our fire district is we have a really good facility. We have a lot of resources available for training. It's just a matter of getting more volunteers. A weakness is we need more volunteers. That's something I'd like to push for.
Oliver: We do well with technology, and the apparatuses that we have. An improvement could be the culture and attitudes of the members. That's where Estacada suffers the most.
EN: How can the board support the district in providing the most effective service to the community?
Shapiro: Have meetings and hear what people are concerned about. I've heard that the board is very traditional and doesn't want to work with the concerns the town has. It would be nice if they started to listen to what the town is talking about. There needs to be more awareness, and transparency to what the problems are so that the town knows what we need help with.
Oliver: We need to get the feasibility study back. The priority is to give the public
the best service we can give them.
EN: What is something else you want voters to know about you?
Shapiro: I really want to see the town prosper. My goal is to push to make the fire department more active with the public and try to be as transparent as we can. I'll be new but working as hard as everyone else.
Oliver: I know a lot about the fire department. An important part of being a board member is understanding the business that you're overseeing. As a successful business owner, I can bring a lot of common sense and knowledge.
During the next several weeks, the Estacada News will feature interviews with all candidates running for fire board in the May 21 election. Boris Shapiro and Ken Oliver are running for Position 2, John Bresko and
Tim Lussier are running for Position 3, and John McAdoo is running for position 5.