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District officials say emergency response in Clackamas County lacks enhanced levy to fund firefighter positions and equipment needs

Clackamas Fire District will host three community forums to discuss elements of a potential levy, which could be referred to the voters on the May 2023 ballot if approved by the Fire District Board. PMG FILE PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Clackamas Fire's Hilltop Fire Station 16 in Oregon City will be among the three stations throughout the district retaining four-person staffs following budget cuts implemented March 1.

Unlike agencies such as the Marion County Fire District and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Clackamas Fire does not have an enhanced levy to fund firefighter positions and equipment needs. Clackamas Fire officials say that this funding gap has led to persistent staffing challenges, including an inability to maintain coverage at several rural fire stations.

In May 2019, 82.24% of voters approved a renewal of TVF&R's five-year local option levy that costs property taxpayers 45 cents per $1,000/assessed value. In Marion County, the fire district voters approved a five-year local option levy of 59 cents per $1,000 assessed value in May 2021.

Clackamas Fire is one of the largest and busiest emergency response agencies in Metro area, serving more than 220,000 residents across 235 square miles. Clackamas firefighters respond to approximately 30,000 calls each year.

Budget cuts starting in March this year forced five Clackamas Fire stations to reduce staffing levels. There were eight fire stations with four-person staffing, and now there are only three stations with these staffing levels — Oregon City Hilltop, Lake Road and Mt. Scott — which are strategically located in the busiest areas of the district. Beavercreek, Boring, Damascus, Oak Grove and Station 1 near 82nd Avenue no longer have four-person staffs and are operating with three-person fire crews like the majority of the district's total 21 fire stations.

Clackamas Fire spokesperson Izak Hamilton said that the elected board members for the fire district haven't discussed the potential levy yet other than to approve staff getting input from the community and collecting information through a survey.

"This is why we're having the open forums coming up so we can share information as to the where we're at and the why," Hamilton said.

Two of the forums, scheduled to be held in November, will discuss Clackamas Fire's proposed levy priorities: Staffing, wildfires and alternative response. The third forum's topic, scheduled to be held in January, has not yet been determined.

These community forums are an opportunity for the public to provide direct feedback to Clackamas Fire leadership, discuss community priorities and ask questions related to the proposed levy and its process. The forums will be held both in person and online.

Clackamas Fire levy forums

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9

Where: Beavercreek's Station 10, 22310 S. Beavercreek Road

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16

Where: Happy Valley's Station 7, 10921 S.E. 172nd Ave.

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4

Where: Oregon City's Station 15, 624 Seventh St.

Online: If you are unable to attend in person, virtual events will be offered through Zoom and Facebook Live. Register at clackamasfire.com and click the "Clackamas Fire Community Forum" tab. For any questions, contact Izak Hamilton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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