Betsy Swanback

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October 5, 2012
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North Douglas County Fire district puts levy on ballot to renew current tax option

DRAIN —The North Douglas County Fire & EMS will ask voters to extend for another five years the levy they approved in 2008.

The district provides fire protection and emergency medical services to the Drain, Yoncalla, Curtin and Rice Hill areas and has 2,717 registered voters.

The levy on the Nov. 6 ballot would cost property owners 99 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation, which would amount to $148.50 on a $150,000 home. A levy with the same tax rate received 60 percent approval in May 2008.

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Grimes said he’s confident voters will renew the levy.

“People understand that for us to respond to emergencies, we need to have the equipment and training to do so,” he said.

The fire district has a permanent tax rate of $1.21. If the levy passes, the district’s total tax rate would be $2.20 per $1,000 assessed valuation. The district has three full-time employees, three part-time employees and about 40 volunteers.

The district estimates a renewed levy would bring the department $1.42 million between July 1, 2013, and June 20, 2018.

The funds will help the district replace equipment, including two firetrucks more than 30 years old.

“When it has that many years, it’s tough to be on the road and be reliable,” Grimes said. “When you’re trying to respond to emergencies, you want vehicles that you can count on.”

The district also says it would replace a water tender, a brush truck, an ambulance, a pickup and other district vehicles, he said.

In a written statement, full-time firefighter and paramedic Brett Andry stated that the district has become better equipped and stepped up fire prevention programs.

Renewing the levy also would help the department continue programs such as testing and marking fire hydrants, making street numbers more visible, supplying smoke detectors and impressing upon teenagers the potentially fatal consequences of drinking and driving.

“We have accomplished some major feats in the last few years and believe that our ability to better protect the public is great,” he wrote. “However, as we look forward into the next five years, we still have so many goals we would like to accomplish.”

Fire district voters rejected a levy in 2006. The district renewed the request in May 2007 and although a majority voted yes, the levy failed because too few residents voted to make the election valid.

If this levy fails, the district would present another proposal, possibly with an adjusted amount, in the spring, Grimes said.

• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or email at

People understand that for us to respond to emergencies, we need to have the equipment and training to do so.

Mike Grimes
Assistant Fire Chief

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The News-Review Updated Nov 2, 2012 04:01PM Published Oct 31, 2012 04:41PM Copyright 2012 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.