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TVF&R declines company's offer of a reduced lease for land on which to build the facility

PMG FILE PHOTO - TVF&R will continue to look for a suitable site on which to build a fire station in rural Newberg.

Rural Newberg will get its fire station, just not quite now.

The effort to construct a fire station outside the city began in 2016 when the city of Newberg began contracting with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue for fire and emergency medical services. The move came after the city determined it could no longer, given budget constraints, properly provide fire services for its residents. The contract included the city honoring its arrangement with the Newberg Rural Fire Protection District (NRFPD), which provided fire service in unincorporated areas outside the city.

Fast forward to 2017 and the city's voters approved a measure allowing the city and rural areas to be annexed into TVF&R's district. In March 2018, voters within TVF&R's service area approved measures allowing it to permanently annex the city and territory within the NRFPD. The annexations went into effect in July 2018.

"Prior to annexation, TVF&R and NRFPD began discussing the prospect of a fire station in the rural area sometime in the future," said Cassandra Ulven, a TVF&R division chief. "There was not a timeline established for station construction. We let the board members and community know that it would likely take years for the process to begin as we had existing projects in areas with higher demand to complete first."

But then news from a local company was revealed that might speed up the timeline a bit. The owners of Precision Helicopter said they had a parcel at its facility on Dopp Road near Highway 240 that might be suitable for a fire station.

"The owner of Precision Helicopter offered to lease us an area on their campus for a discounted lease," Ulven said.

She added that the agency typically needs about one to one-and-a-half acres of land for a fire station and that in this case it was likely the station initially would be a two-person unit.

But then TVF&R took a closer look at the land, ultimately deciding it was a bad fit.

"The location on the campus proved challenging because it is located near a very active helicopter training pad, the road our apparatus would have to cross would require significant (and costly) reinforcement to bear vehicles' weight, there was insufficient water supply and access to the exit required crossing an active airstrip," Ulven said.

Since a final price nor a definite parcel size had not been agreed upon, the deal was nixed. So, the agency will continue its search for suitable ground to build the station on, all the while collecting funds for when the project is ready to commence.

"We have $635,000 in reserve from NRFPD's savings and will use money from our general fund to make up any difference," Ulven said, adding that it's too early in the process to estimate the actual cost of construction.


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