Voters say ‘yes’ to fire district
Last updated 5/24/2022 at Noon
Voters overwhelmingly approved a levy that will enhance staffing and coverage for the Cloverdale Fire District east of Sisters.
Sixty-eight percent of voters in the District said “yes” to a 69 cents-per-$1,000 levy that will provide a sustainable level of 24/7 staffing by fire officers/EMTs.
Fire Chief Thad Olsen told The Nugget that he is relieved that the measure passed by such a wide margin, after voters rejected a larger levy a year ago.
“It’s critical that we have this,” he said.
The levy is expected to bring in an estimated $315,744 in 2022-23, which will pay for two additional officer- and EMT-qualified staff, as well as adding three firefighter student scholarships, bringing the District’s cadre of students to six. Three of those students could be housed at the District’s North Station, reducing response times to that sector of the District.
Olsen said the District will move on hiring one shift captain immediately in an effort to relieve overstretched volunteers and staff.
“We’re just needing to get the 24-hour coverage as quickly as we can,” Chief Olsen said.
The short staffing the District has been experiencing in recent years has already taken a toll: Captain and Training Officer Jeremy Hall has resigned.
“He just couldn’t do the hours,” Chief Olsen said. “I get it. He’s staying on as a volunteer. We’re moving forward. We’ve hired a replacement for him.”
The new Training Officer is Travis Bootes, who has been serving in the Sisters Fire District as a volunteer lieutenant.
“Travis is full-time now,” Olsen said.
Another captain position funded by the levy will come on later, as the District collects revenue.
Chief Olsen noted that all agencies are experiencing difficulties recruiting personnel and students right now.
The Chief expressed gratitude for the strong level of community support.
“It’s been refreshing to see the support,” he said. “We’re grateful that they (voters) recognize our needs and that they answered the call.”
In other election news, incumbent Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone won the Republican primary for his position, defeating Scott Stuart. He will face Democrat Oliver Tatom in November. Patti Adair was unopposed in her primary for reelection to the Board of Commissioners. She will face Democrat Morgan Schmidt in the general election.
Deputy Jason Pollock defeated incumbent Sheriff Marc Heckathorn in the primary race. Pollock held 52 percent of the vote as of last week. If he comes in above 50 percent in the final primary vote count, his name will appear alone on the November ballot.
Jamie McLeod-Skinner held a commanding 20-percentage point lead in the 5th Congressional District race against incumbent Kurt Schrader.
The district encompasses much of Deschutes and Clackamas counties.
However, a printing glitch in Clackamas County ballots has delayed a final count, potentially into June.
Willamette Week reported that the McLeod-Skinner campaign has filed a formal complaint regarding observation of the hand-counting process on marred ballots.
“[T]he McLeod-Skinner campaign alleged to Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan that the Clackamas County Elections Office violated state law by allowing a representative of the Schrader campaign into the office an hour before allowing in an observer from his challenger’s campaign,” the paper reported.