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Officials break ground on new Tigard fire station

TIGARD - The groundbreaking ceremony for Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue's newest fire station didn't go off without a hitch.

On Tuesday, just 40 minutes before the event on Walnut Street in Tigard, two fire engines, one schedule to be the backdrop for the groundbreaking ceremony for Fire Station 50 and the other carrying the captain of the future station and the man scheduled to emcee the event were both dispatched to an apartment fire.

Captain Kelly Bach the ranking officer at West Slope Fire Station 65 and the scheduled new captain of Tigard's new Fire Station 50 shrugged it off.

'It's just part of the job,' he said. Bach and his crew finished up their firefighting duties at a small fire in a Tigard apartment and hurried to the 12585 S.W. Walnut St. construction site where he calmly took command of the ceremony.

The second TVF and R crew, Engine 50, dispatched to the same fire, was parked as a backdrop for the groundbreaking.

'We can claim to be the first engine to respond to a fire from the site of the new fire station,' said Lt. Bob Mueller, Engine 50's officer. Engine 50 was canceled while en route to the incident and returned in time to regain its spot behind Tigard and TVF and R officials who turned the first spades of dirt.

'This is the first fire station we have added to Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue in 10 years,' Fire Chief Jeff Johnson said. 'And, it addresses lengthy response times we have had in serving this neighborhood.'

The fire district's response time target is to reach emergency incidents within six minutes of being dispatched.

'Additionally, we'll be building the new station to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building rating system gold level to save energy,' Johnson said.

TVF and R Board President Clark Balfour also noted that the station doubles as a meeting place for homeowner and neighborhood associations. The meeting room was expanded from original plans, and the excess land not used by the fire station will become part of the city of Tigard's Jack Park.

'We have partnered with TVF and R on many safety programs over the years and we're pleased to partner again on this project,' said Tigard Mayor Craig Dirksen. 'The community room will have windows looking out onto Jack Park allowing citizens to keep tabs on their kids outside. This is truly a win-win project for the city, TVF and R and for the citizens of the area.'

Actual construction of the 11,800-square-foot, $2.74-million fire station will begin with a few weeks. The station is slated to be completed in nine months. Funding comes from a $77.5-million bond that voters approved for the fire district in 2006. Architects for the project are Peck Smiley Ettlin of Portland. The station will be built by First Cascade Corporation of Lake Oswego.