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Proposed merger must be approved by voters in both Estacada, Clackamas fire districts to go into effect

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Signs supporting and opposing a merger of Estacada and Clackamas fire districts can be found in downtown Estacada.

Unofficial election results indicate that a merger between Estacada Rural Fire District and Clackamas Fire will not move forward.

Updated results released at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, show that 62% of voters in the Estacada Fire District said no to Measure 3-561. In the Clackamas Fire District, 74% said yes to Measure 3-560.

Both measures must be approved for the merger to go into effect.

Estacada Rural Fire District's current contract for service with Clackamas Fire lasts through June 2021.

Estacada Rural Fire District and Clackamas Fire first entered into an intergovernmental agreement in 2016, through which Clackamas provided fire prevention and training services in Estacada. In a later version of the IGA, these services expanded to include response units to ensure effective response to fires and other incidents; advanced life support staffing, which is the highest level of pre-hospital field care; and a joint operational plan for water tender operators and rehab volunteers.

The two agencies signed a contract for services at the beginning of this year.

In the contract, Clackamas Fire staffs the Estacada Fire Station with three firefighters for all 24-hour shifts. Previously, Estacada Fire was only able to provide that level of coverage 68% of the time. The George Fire Station is staffed with additional volunteers, and Clackamas provides Estacada with 24-hour fire chief coverage.

If the merger had been approved, staffing at the Estacada Fire Station will increase to four people.

Last summer, a feasibility study from Emergency Services Consulting International (paid for by the Estacada and Clackamas fire districts) recommended the merger.

The proposed merger came under scrutiny by some Estacada community members in the aftermath of the Riverside and Dowty Road fires. Critics expressed dissatisfaction with Clackamas Fire's performance during the disaster and the agency's willingness to collaborate with the community.


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