Majority of Estacada Fire's board supports proposed merger
As elected directors of Estacada Fire District No. 69, we are advocating a yes vote on Measure 3-561 to merge our fire district with Clackamas Fire District No. 1. We are very disappointed and alarmed by misinformation of the facts surrounding Estacada Fire's budget and this merger opportunity by our colleague John McAdoo.
We first want to publicly state the support that we have for the career, volunteer, and staff members of Clackamas Fire District No. 1, several who came from Estacada Fire District and many who are also residents of our community.
Their actions and bravery within our community is seen every day and for that, we thank them for their service. We entrust Clackamas Fire to investigate any issues raised by our neighbors during the recent wildfires, and are seeing person to person follow ups, after action reviews, and post incident programs being conducted that will help build confidence, trust and take lessons learned that will benefit everyone in the future.
Our board recently unanimously approved a proclamation to thank our community for their support during the September, 2020 wildfires and to those who supported the firefighting efforts, provided equipment and resources, and assisted in the relief support efforts. The outcome of those devastating fires was made better by the combined team effort of all of our citizens and firefighting teams.
The upcoming merger is about much more than a once in a century fire event. It's about the 1,500-plus emergencies that occur in our community annually. After evaluating the data, the financial reality, the firefighting staffing opportunities, our history as an agency, and completing a comprehensive feasibility study on future options, all facts point to this merger being in the best interests of our citizens, our businesses, our Fire District, and our community's future.
The June, 2019 feasibility study conducted by an outside neutral consultant had only one conclusion; "The most logical course would be for Clackamas Fire District No.1 and Estacada Fire District to merge."
A yes vote:
Our road traveled as a fire district has been difficult at times and as fire directors, we have been proud of the history of the Estacada Fire District.
Our board majority has worked hard to try to provide a responsible, permanent, improved solution to our community's future by presenting this merger opportunity to our voters and joining a successful regional fire protection model that has proven itself and provides us better service.
Our district's adopted vision statement includes "making data-driven decisions," "embracing change," and "being good stewards of resources." This merger proposal follows all of those visions.
While we respect McAdoo's right to a dissenting vote throughout this process, his statements create confusion of what reality would be if we revert back to Estacada Fire, and makes misstatements regarding the facts of Estacada Fire District's annual budget. His recent claim quote that "the 2020-2021 Estacada Fire District budget revenue is approximately $4.9 million, and Estacada Fire has sufficient revenue to fund its own fire department" is a gross misstatement. In actuality, the annual revenue is $3 million. His statement will confuse voters and imply that there is more annual revenue than there is and borders on disinformation. His proposal to go back to exactly where we have been and what didn't work, is impractical and nearly impossible. His claims are not supported by the facts, his actions are not in the best interests of the community, and we cannot allow them to be unchallenged.
We hope that our community looks past the misinformation and the current passions and emotions, focuses on higher service levels, supports our firefighting personnel, and trusts those of us who live here, have served on this board, and spent many months doing everything we could to ensure the path forward we suggest to all of you is the right one. We support a Yes vote on Measure 3-561 and unconditionally support a better future for our community. No Fire District resources or personnel were used in development of this letter.
This commentary was submitted by Estacada Rural Fire District No. 69 directors — President Matthew Silva, Vice President John Bresko, and board members Ken Oliver and Ed Thoreson.
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