TVF&R plans to build fire station on McEwan Road
Tualatin city councilors unanimously approved a conditional use permit Monday that will allow Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue to build a new fire station at 7100 S.W. McEwan Road, just past the border between Tualatin and Lake Oswego and near the City of Rivergrove.
Rivergrove Mayor Heather Kibbey, who testified in support of the project, was joined by more than a half-dozen residents of her city.
"We are here to express our very great support for this project," she told the Tualatin council. "We've been waiting for years for it."
According to Tualatin city staff, TVF&R already has the rights to the 1.16-acre property but has not yet purchased it. The surrounding industrial area isn't zoned to allow for a fire station, so the department needed the conditional permit before it could move forward.
TVF&R Assistant Chief Mark Havener told the council that it's relatively rare for fire departments to find new station locations that are both geographically ideal and correctly zoned. Many of the department's existing stations have conditional use permits, he said.
Although the majority of Tualatin is located south of the Tualatin River, a portion of the city extends north past the river on both sides of I-5 and up to the edge of Lake Oswego on the eastern side of the freeway. TVF&R serves that portion of the city, as well as parts of the nearby Rosewood neighborhood that have not annexed into Lake Oswego. It also serves the City of Rivergrove, which is located south of Rosewood.
The Lake Oswego Fire Department also has a station nearby on Jean Road. Like most adjacent fire districts, LOFD and TVF&R have a mutual aid agreement, according to LOFD Chief Larry Goff; that means the closest fire crew from either jurisdiction will respond to an emergency.
But the area is officially served by TVF&R, and Havener said the department determined a new station is needed because of the average volume of nearby emergency calls.
TVF&R's goal is to arrive at the scene of an emergency within four minutes on at least 90 percent of calls, he said, and trucks coming to the area from other stations tend to get slowed down by traffic.
"We see a lot of positive benefits from the placement of this fire station," he said.
Havener also told The Review that the addition of the new station would improve response time of firefighters at other Tualatin stations south of the river, because they would be less likely to be engaged with a far-away emergency in the Rivergrove area when other Tualatin calls come in.
In a letter to Rivergrove residents before the meeting, Kibbey said it can take TVF&R crews 10-15 minutes to reach Rivergrove from their existing locations.
Tualatin Councilor Jeff Dehaan asked how the department settled on the particular property on McEwan Road. Havener replied that the original analysis had determined that the mathematical best location would be the Crate & Barrel store in Bridgeport Village, but the property on McEwan was the most practical option near that point.
Frank Angelo, a principal with Angelo Planning Group, the firm representing TVF&R, also briefed the council on the preliminary designs and operational plans for the 9,500-square-foot station, which would be known as TVF&R's Station 39.
The station would operate 24 hours a day. It would be staffed by an initial crew of four firefighters, Angelo said, although that would later grow to six. It would feature two engine bays that would open directly onto McEwan, with a separate driveway leading to rear doors for returning trucks.
The approval of the conditional use permit doesn't mean the building's design is approved — it will still need to go through the architectural review process, including a public hearing. Angelo said his firm would likely begin the process within the next month.