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Heat rises in three-way fire board race

Views differ significantly between challengers for Boring fire board


Tom StewartJay CrossIn Clackamas County’s May 21 special election, registered voters in the Boring Fire District will be asked to vote their preference for board Position No. 4. Candidates are incumbent John Hartsock and challengers Jay Cross and Tom Stewart.

Cross says he wants to serve in this position because he has lived in the area for more than 20 years, with the past 14 in Eagle Creek.

Stewart says volunteer firefighters and local residents have asked him to run to help make the district more fiscally responsible.

But Hartsock says the district is responsible, debt-free and launching an external audit to help the board set a long-term strategy.

Regarding experience, Stewart says he has been a volunteer firefighter for five years and has worked for American Medical Response for 10 years. He also has been involved in negotiating a union contract.

John HartsockHartsock points to his many years of service to this district as well as connection to a number of community organizations. But to keep the district on the correct fiscal path, he says his business experience is invaluable.

Cross has worked for Gresham Fire for more than 20 years as a firefighter and paramedic — the past 12 as company officer. He says he will bring to the board knowledge of public needs.

Hartsock would like to complete a 10-year strategic plan that provides “exceptional service through a combination of career staff, volunteers and partnerships with adjacent agencies.”

Cross wants to be sure that in the future the board is “providing the fire chief clear policy direction.” Among his goals are service, financial accountability, transparency of operations and a clear vision for the future.

Stewart says he wants to add balance to the board and be a “voice for the residents in this community that has not been appointed or funded by a union or special interest group.”

Cross wants to increase service by having firefighters and paramedics available 24-7 at Boring district stations. He wants to improve to immediate response to calls.

Stewart emphasizes he wants residents to have all the facts when the board is deciding an issue that affects the entire community. He doesn’t want the board to include only union-backed people.

Hartsock says the current board has worked through some difficult issues with a well-reasoned approach, and its members are complementary but not confrontational.

Stewart says he will represent the views of local residents without being influenced by outside sources.

Hartsock says he is not part of an “organized effort to create change with unknown consequences.” He has lived in this community for 23 years and wants to continue serving.

Cross says his service to the board would work toward 24-7 paramedic service, an open-to-new-ideas policy and attempting to continue the feel of a neighborhood fire station.

Ballots are scheduled to be put in the mail by Friday, May 3, and are due back by 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 21.