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Two TVF&R stations receive major renovations, seismic upgrades

Rock Creek and Cooper Mountain stations will be completed

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - TVF&Rs Greg Perry talks about the upcoming renovations to the 185th Avenue firehouse.Two of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue's fire stations are getting significant facelifts, adding more living space to each while also bringing them up to current seismic standards.

Renovation and remodeling construction on Station No. 34, located off Southwest 185th Avenue in the Rock Creek area, and Station 39, just off Southwest 175th Avenue in the Coopper Mountain area, began this summer, according to Greg Perry, construction technical manager for TVF&R. The remodeling of Station No. 34, which was built in 1970, and Station No. 39, constructed in 1981, are expected to be completed by next August.

Here’s what each station will receive:

— Station No. 34: An additional 1,440 square feet of space will be added, along with seismic upgrades, installation of an interior sprinkler system, the addition of Americans with Disabilities Act parking and provisions for female firefighters. The seismic upgrades, along with the addition and room reconfiguration, will mean the station will receive remodeled amenities, including the kitchen, dining area, day room, front office/entry area, bunk rooms, restroom/shower/locker room areas for both male and female firefighters. Although no extra space will be added to the apparatus bay, it too will be renovated, and a 284-square-foot patio will be installed. The cost for the project is $3.6 million, including costs associated with getting the temporary station (located one block away) up and running.

TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - At Station No. 34, the 34-foot-tall cinder block hose tower area had to be removed because it was made out of standard cinder block construction, which could crumble in the event of an earthquake. Hose towers were once used to dry cotton hoses (so they wouldn't rot out) before synthetic versions came along.— Station No. 39: The station will receive an additional 1,654 square feet of space. It too will receive seismic upgrades, a building addition, an interior remodel with provisions for female firefighters, and the installation of an interior sprinkler system along with amenity upgrades similar to those at Station No. 64. The estimated cost is $3.9 million, an amount that again includes costs associated with the temporary station on Kemmer Road. The remodeling work is being funded from a bond voters approved in 2006 while the seismic upgrades are funded through a Seismic Rehabilitation Grant provided by the state of Oregon, according to Kim Haughn, a public affairs officer with TVF&R.

During a recent tour of Station No. 34, Perry pointed out evidence of the badly needed seismic upgrades, noting that major floor beams are held to a ground post by only five nails, construction that was completed back when building codes weren’t so strict. He said the state seismic grants will go a long way in making both stations earthquake-resistant.

When completed, the buildings will be 50 percent structurally stronger than community building codes require for essential service facilities such as hospitals, police departments and fire stations, he said.

In the meantime, the crew quarters and an apparatus bay at the Rock Creek Station have been moved up the street to the corner of Rock Creek Boulevard and 185th Avenue where firefighters are being housed temporarily in a double-wide manufactured mobile home behind Sunset Covenant Church. The district is leasing space from the church. A metal RV structure shelters the engine, with other fire equipment, including the mobile paramedic vehicle, available on site during the day and parked at a nearby fire station at night.

At the same time, the new temporary site for Station No. 39 is directly across from Cooper Mountain Nature Park where the district is leasing property from the Tualatin Valley Water District. There too, crews are using a double-wide manufactured home.

“It’s the sixth time we’ve put it in service,” Perry said of the temporary quarters.

One focal point that’s been removed from both stations are now-dated hose towers.

“The hose towers are gone,” said Perry. “They’re completely demolished.”

Well, for the most part.

The tall structures that used to jut skyward were used in the days when drying 100-foot-long cotton hoses were a necessity to prevent them from rotting.

“The industry as a whole has transitioned to synthetic hose,” said Perry. “The synthetic doesn’t need to be dried like the old cotton hose did.”

At Station No. 34, the 34-foot-tall cinder block hose tower area had to be removed because it was made out of standard cinder block construction, which could crumble in the event of an earthquake. Still, the hollowed out space will still exist there. Meanwhile, the 36-foot-tall hose tower at the Cooper Mountain station will be reduced to 20 feet, 8 inches, making it even with the roofline. Although it is also made of cinder blocks, it won’t be removed completely because it is grouted solid, said Perry, with the ability to survive an earthquake. It will be used as an area for washing firefighter turnouts.

Meanwhile, Station No. 372 off of Cornelius Pass Road, will also be remodeled and renovated with 90 percent of demolition already completed there.

That station, which is manned by all-volunteer firefighters, is in Multnomah County.