News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Voters reject Cloverdale Fire District bond

Cloverdale Fire District voters said a vehement “no” to a five-year local option levy to fund enhanced emergency medical and fire response. The Cloverdale District lies in the rural lands east of Sisters. The levy carried a tax rate of $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Voters rejected it by a 70 percent to 30 percent margin.

The District sought to add two paid firefighting staff to maintain 24/7 staffing at the main station and house an ambulance in the District. Plans also called for Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District to take on the administrative requirements of the Cloverdale District.

“Our board believes in putting things out for the voters and providing good information to make their own decisions,” Fire Chief Thad Olsen told The Nugget. “The cost to provide that level of service wasn’t supported.”

Olsen said the District still has to find a way to address its response times. The need for volunteers to respond to the station before deploying on an incident puts response times to incidents at 8-12 minutes, according to District data. Olsen noted also that volunteers can only respond when they are available, which can vary significantly depending on the time of day an incident occurs.

“We know we have to address our response time — it’s just figuring out how we do it,” Olsen said.

Olsen said that clearly the cost of enhancing services “did not resonate” with voters.

“We’re going to have to modify what we’re looking at providing,” he said.

Despite what turned out to be a contentious election campaign, Olsen said the staff and volunteers are “going to move forward.”

“We know we have a job to do and that’s not going to change,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenge. It’s always a challenge. We’re just going to do the best we can.”

The race for two positions on the District’s board of directors remained too close to call at press time.

After the lead was swapped overnight on May 18, incumbent Deanne Dement led challenger Mikee Stutzman 511-502 in the race to secure Position 4. Cindy Kettering pulled ahead of Marcus Peck 527-512 in the Position 5 race.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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