I'm voting no on measure 3-561
The 2020-21 Estacada Fire District adopted budget revenue is approximately $4.9 million. Estacada Fire District has sufficient revenue to fund its own fire department. This will include three fulltime firefighters/paramedics 24 hours a day, seven days a week; one fire chief; two division chiefs; and two administrative personnel. A volunteer firefighter program would provide additional resources.
If this measure passes it would cost Clackamas Fire District approximately $2.8 million to operate the Estacada fire station. The remaining funds from our tax revenues would be added to the Clackamas Fire budget.
Fire departments, for many years, have used mutual assist agreements to provide coverage for their stations when they are out on calls or to provide additional resources on major calls such as brush or forest fires, or large structure fires. For example, if Estacada was working a major incident, Colton Fire, Clackamas Fire, Sandy Fire, Molalla Fire, etc. would provide additional resources to assist with the incident or cover our station. Even large fire departments need this assistance when they have a major alarm that requires numerous resources. One particular instance, Estacada Fire was always on first alarm assignment to the Eagle Creek area because the fire station on Highway 211 and Southeast Judd Road was not always manned.
Statements have been made that Estacada Fire only had two persons on an engine 62% of the time. This statement did not take into consideration that one or more chief officers and/or volunteers responded to the incident to provide the additional manpower if needed. Estacada Fire has provided firefighters/paramedics for the past 15 years or more on all of their alarms. It is one of the requirements for applying for a position in our department.
Estacada Fire has never failed to garner the resources needed to manage any incident professionally. The resources available for the "Pit 36 Fire" of 2014, as well as the recent fires, would be available if Estacada Fire District remains its own entity.
For as long as I can recall, Estacada Fire District directors have placed money in "reserve funds" so when it came time to replace the equipment or fire apparatus, the monies were available to pay cash, without having to borrow money or go out for bond measures to replace this equipment.
If Clackamas Fire District would put a bond measure on their ballot their whole community would be voting on these and we here in the Estacada community would only have a small voice on this.
We must consider that if this measure is approved, Estacada Fire District will no longer exist. Our fire station, all fire apparatuses, equipment, property and cash in our accounts will be transferred to Clackamas Fire District.
If perhaps you would want to attend a Clackamas Fire board meeting, you would have to drive for approximately 25 miles. And it would be rare that a representative from Estacada would be elected to the Clackamas Fire Board of Directors.
John McAdoo is a member of the Estacada Rural Fire District's Board of Directors. He is a retired assistant fire chief with more than 38 years in the fire service.
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