Washington County Board of Commissioners gives the fire district its blessing

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue's effort to annex Newberg and land to its north and west into its district has come one step closer to fruition.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a proposal during a hearing last week to bring the city and territory within the Newberg Rural Fire Protection District (NRFPD) under the TVF&R umbrella. The decision triggers a public comment period before a second and final hearing will be held Dec. 19, according to a release from TVF&R.

"We are pleased that the commissioners have taken this important step to implement the will of the voters," said TVF&R Chief Mike Duyck, adding praise for Newberg City Manager Joe Hannan and TVF&R Board President Clark Balfour for their testimony at the hearing.

Duyck also praised the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners, who unanimously endorsed the annexation application and recommended its passage to the Washington County board.

TVF&R must now get approval from the Oregon Department of Revenue as well as formally dissolve the rural fire protection district.

The decision by Washington County came after the Nov. 7 special election where Newberg voters overwhelmingly approved permanently aligning the city with TVF&R for fire, ambulance and medical service in the future. That vote coincided with two measures placed on the ballot by the rural fire protection district that dissolve that district and signed on with TVF&R.

The city of Newberg signed a two-year contract with TVF&R in July 2016 to provide service after the city determined it no longer had the budget or personnel to serve the citizenry itself. That contract ends in July 2018 and TVF&R will carry on as the sole provider of service.

After the city joined forces with TVF&R the NRFPD was left with no choice but to follow suit, board members determined after months of meetings, although joining the larger district will mean a four-fold increase in tax rates for those in the rural district.

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