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Commissioners nearing approval of AMR contract

Clackamas County Commissioners indicated Tuesday that they will negotiate changes to a proposed contract for countywide ambulance service from American Medical Response (AMR) and move toward approving the contract later this month.

The decision, which has the support of three commissioners, followed a public announcement by Commissioner Jim Bernard that he has withdrawn his opposition and now supports the company’s bid.

“I want to take responsibility for my mistake and rectify this wrong decision,” said Bernard. “My goal has always been to obtain the best emergency response service for the best price. That is still my goal.”

Commissioners will discuss possible changes to the proposal over the next week or two and plan to schedule a formal vote within two weeks.

The decision to move forward with the proposal is supported by Commissioners Paul Savas and Martha Schrader. 

“AMR’s proposed contract is sound, provides cost-savings and serves the best interests of the community, the county and the hardworking public safety professionals,” said Savas. “The ambulance crews that serve Clackamas County do an outstanding job and they deserve to have the certainty that a contract provides, as do the citizens we represent.”

“I have always felt that this has been a complete proposal,” said Schrader. “As we have gone through the process, AMR has tried to accommodate the issues that have been raised.”

Commissioner Tootie Smith and Chairman John Ludlow disagreed with the board majority.

“I believe that, at its core, the intent and purpose of the RFP for Clackamas County ambulance service is to proceed through a full competitive bidding process which provides side by side comparisons of proposals. That did not occur in this case. A true competitive process would have produced much better proposals with ideas, improvements and savings,” said Smith.

“I have serious concerns that the cost -savings, so widely touted for the first year of the proposal, are not sustainable over the multi-year term of the contract,” said Ludlow. “The proposal was not responsive. In my judgment, it was not in substantial compliance with the county’s request for proposal.”

The county is in the final months of an existing contract with AMR that expires April 30.

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