Clackamas Fire votes to ask constituents about merger with Estacada
Clackamas Fire's Board of Directors approved a resolution to include the legal integration of
Estacada Fire into Clackamas Fire on the November ballot, and Estacada Fire's Board of Directors will consider a similar resolution later this week.
Clackamas Fire's Board of Directors voted 4-1 in favor of the ordinance during a meeting on Monday, June 15. The ordinance will go before Estacada Fire's Board of Directors on Thursday, June 18, and during a meeting on Monday, June 22, the Estacada City Council will also consider the resolution.
If the question of integration appears on the ballot, it would need to be approved by constituents in both Estacada and Clackamas to take effect.
Per the resolution that Clackamas Fire approved on Monday and Estacada Fire will consider on Thursday, the proposed merger would absorb Estacada into Clackamas Fire, who would be responsible for all funds, property and contracts; rights and responsibilities; uncollected taxes, assessments or charges; liabilities and debts; and records of the merged districts.
Clackamas Fire Director Jim Syring voted in favor of the resolution, citing benefits to Clackamas Fire's constituents who live in the Logan and Eagle Creek areas that neighbor Estacada.
"I will always support referring the issue to the voters. That's what this vote tonight means," Syring said during the June 15 meeting. "I'm proud to say that I'll be voting affirmatively on the resolution tonight to give our voters the opportunity to vote on this in November."
Director Marilyn Wall was the sole dissenting vote.
"When we send something to the ballot, it is with a recommendation," she said, pointing out financial concerns found in a feasibility study completed last summer.
After establishing an IGA in 2016, Clackamas and Estacada fire districts entered into a contract for service at the beginning of this year. Through the contract, which lasts through June 30, 2021, Clackamas Fire staffs the Estacada Fire Station with three firefighters for all 24-hour shifts, something that Estacada Fire previously was only able to provide 68% of the time. The George Fire Station is staffed with additional volunteers, and Clackamas provides Estacada with 24-hour fire chief coverage.
"The focus within the contract (for service) is serving the community," said Clackamas Fire Chief Fred Charlton during an Estacada City Council meeting on Monday, June 8. "That's something that we're all very proud of as public safety officials, is being out and doing our very best to help protect and serve the community."
If a merger is approved, staffing at the Estacada Fire Station will increase to four people.
Last summer, a feasibility study from Emergency Services Consulting International was paid for by the Estacada and Clackamas fire districts and recommended a merger.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the possibility for in-person meetings, Clackamas Fire will facilitate an online outreach campaign. Information will be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, there will be information sessions via Zoom.
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