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Boring Fire candidates stand behind Clackamas Fire contract

Chris Hawes challenges Chris Olson for Boring Fire board position

While Mike Strickland is running unopposed and will retain his Boring Fire District Board of Directors position for an additional term, Chris Olson is being challenged by Chris Hawes for Position 1.

As they approach the May 19 election, the candidates are taking similar stances.

Olson was appointed to the Boring Fire board five years ago after another member resigned. The following year he ran unopposed and was elected.

Olson, who lives in Boring, has been highly active in the Boring and Damascus communities, serving on the Boring Water board and the Boring Community Planning Organization, and is still involved with the Boring-Damascus Grange and the Friends of the Boring Station Trailhead Park group.

Olson served for two years as one of two board members on the interagency committee between Boring Fire and Clackamas Fire working to decide if it would be a good idea to combine the two agencies. Last July, Boring Fire entered into a five-year contract for service with Clackamas Fire District.

“Clackamas was able to provide a much higher level of service,” Olson said. “It was a no brainer.”

Hawes also is using his involvement in the change as a reason for running.

A Damascus resident, Hawes advocated last year for the agreement between Boring and Clackamas.

“I was concerned with the level of service and quality of service of Boring Fire District,” he said.

For some time, the fire station in Damascus was unmanned, and sometimes only two firefighters were on duty at the Boring main station, when three are needed for an engine to leave.

“I wasn’t aware that the situation had gotten that bad,” he said. “I was not happy it was allowed to get to that point.”

Hawes and Olson agree that the change in service since the contract for service started has been remarkable.

“The first year has just been awesome,” Olson said. “It’s been a win-win — a win for Clackamas and a win for Boring.”

Both candidates said they would advocate for Boring to legally integrate into Clackamas Fire if service continues as it has for the rest of the contract.

“It would make no sense not for Boring to become part of Clackamas Fire if the level of service continues,” Olson said, adding that although the change was controversial at first, he doesn’t think anyone could deny that Clackamas has done a great job. While Olson said the board’s short-term goal is to see the Eagle Creek fire station staffed with daytime responders in the near future, Hawes would like to see a change in the decision-making process of the board.

“I would like to insure that whatever decision we make going forward is not based on history or personal feeling,” Hawes said. “The decision should be made based on what provides the most safety for our community — what provides the best level of safety for our firefighters.”

“I think I have the experience and the knowledge about what Boring needs to have, and I’m ready to do that,” Olson said.

The special district election will be held Tuesday, May 19. Ballots will be sent to voters on Wednesday, April 29.