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Boring and Clackamas fire districts collaborate more, increasing efficiency

Boring residents won't be responsible for Clackamas District bond

More than nine months into a contract with Clackamas Fire District that allows Boring Fire District to staff its three fire stations, leaders say the agency is providing more efficient service than before.

The contract allows Boring Fire to increase staff at its three fire stations in Boring, Damascus and Eagle Creek.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - After entering into a five-year contract for service with Clackamas Fire District, Boring Fire District is able to staff its stations to nearly twice the previous levels.

Clackamas Deputy Chief Jim Syring said the five-year contract for service, which became effective on July 1, 2014, has allowed both Boring and Clackamas Fire districts to become more efficient in serving citizens.

One year ago, he said, Boring Fire had five career firefighters staffing its stations daily. Now, there are nine.

“Almost double for the same exact cost,” Syring noted.

Clackamas Fire District Chief Fred Charlton praised the changes.

“That’s really what the public wants,” he said. “When you call 911 you want a response as fast as possible. We’re bringing our firefighters together to better serve the community.”

As a nationally accredited station, the standard for responding to a fire in a suburban area is to have 14 firefighters on scene within 16 minutes. On Feb. 4, when a fire was reported in Damascus, which is part of the Boring district, Clackamas Fire had 23 firefighters on scene in 11 minutes and 32 seconds.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Under the contract, Boring Fire District kept its board of directors and its recognizable name on the engines.

Before entering into the contract for service with Clackamas Fire, Boring Fire had an intergovernmental agreement with Clackamas. Now, Clackamas has IGAs with other agencies in the area but on a smaller level than it does with Boring.

“It’s in our blood. It’s in our history,” said Syring.

Clackamas Fire comprised nine different departments before they began integrating, for the same reasons Boring entered into the recent contract: avoiding duplicated efforts and creating efficiency.

For the May 19 election, Clackamas Fire District proposes a $29 million bond to be used on a number of projects, including:

n replacing emergency apparatuses;

n constructing a new fleet maintenance center;

n replacing firefighter self-contained breathing apparatuses;

n improving community fire stations; and

n constructing a training center building, tower and warehouse.

Charlton said it will be a little more than a four-cent increase of what property owners in Clackamas Fire District already pay in taxes. The approximate cost to a $300,000 property owner would be $2.50 a month or $30 a year.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Because the Eagle Creek fire station is staffed entirely by volunteers, the Boring Fire District is always looking to initiate new firefighters.

Although Boring Fire District may inadvertently benefit from the improvements in the Clackamas district, Boring residents will not be asked to vote or pay for the bond in taxes.

In 2018, Boring Fire District’s board will decide to either renew the contract, terminate it or legally integrate into Clackamas Fire. If they decide to legally integrate, the board also will decide if Boring is responsible for paying part of the bond.