Voters showed overwhelming support for measures that provided funding to various rural fire departments in the primary elections last night.
Measures for four rural fire departments were on the ballot for the May primary, and each of those measures passed with decisive majorities of votes in favor.
One fire department up for funding was the Coburg Rural Fire Protection District. The measure to renew the option tax for its operations passed with a commanding 87% of voters saying yes. The figure came as a surprise to Coburg RFPD’s fire chief Chad Minter, who expressed thanks for the overwhelming support from the community.
“I think over the last two years between fire season and the pandemic, especially in volunteer agencies like ours, people understand that we need to keep funding up, and make sure the volunteers are still wanting to volunteer,” Minter said.
According to Minter the Coburg fire department, like most rural fire departments, is mostly staffed by volunteers.
KEZI-TV ABC 9 Eugene
The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently approved permanent rules for investor-owned electric utilities, including Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp and Idaho Power, regarding public safety power shutoffs (PSPSs). Temporary rules were implemented for the 2021 wildfire season while the PUC, utilities, public safety partners, and communities worked to finalize permanent rules. This is a timely decision as May is National Wildfire Awareness Month and wildfire season quickly approaches.
A PSPS is an important safety measure designed to help protect people and communities in high fire-risk areas by proactively shutting off electricity during extreme and dangerous weather conditions. De-energizing power lines through a PSPS is a wildfire risk mitigation strategy of last resort because of the significant impacts the loss of power can have on communities and the extensive planning and communication that are needed to effectively implement them.
Curry Coastal Pilot
An AirLink helicopter on a flight from Bend crashed Wednesday evening while landing at the Christmas Valley Airport to pick up a patient to transport, seriously injuring all four crew members aboard, the FAA and Lake County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
The crash occurred around 5:24 p.m., according to Deputy and Emergency Services Manager Daniel Tague. No fatalities are reported at this time, he added. The FAA indicated in its initial report Thursday that the 3-year-old helicopter "crashed under unknown circumstances (while) attempting to land and became inverted." It said one member of the flight crew and three cabin crew members were seriously injured.
Tague said La Pine and Crescent fire agencies dispatched ambulances to transport patients to Bend.
KTVZ NBC/CW+ 21 Bend
Voters rejected a $14.5 million bond measure for a new firehouse on Tuesday, a stinging message to city leaders who had argued that the project was critical to replace the aging fire station on Pacific Way.
Measure 4-213 was failing 66% to 34%.
The new firehouse, at 13,000 square feet, would have been off Highlands Lane along U.S. Highway 101.
Jack Zimmerman, a critic of the project whose unsuccessful legal challenge kept the bond measure off last November's ballot, said city leaders ignored questions and concerns from residents.
“Gearhart will build a new fire station when they know their money will be well spent, and not wasted on something that they do not want, need or understand,” he said. “The taxpayers who will have to tighten their belts to fund this project in this shaky economy deserve consideration, transparency and respect.”
Two months of heavy spring rain has pushed back the start of Oregon’s wildfire season, but when the weather pendulum finally swings back to warm and dry, the state will still be in for an extremely challenging summer.
That was the takeaway at a press conference Monday morning hosted by Governor Kate Brown.
Brown said her office has already declared drought emergencies in 15 Oregon counties, a higher total for this point in the year than in any prior year while she’s been governor.
“We are seeing conditions in place that indicate another challenging fire season ahead,” she said. “While many of us have experienced a lot of rain recently, in many parts of the state we’re already seeing megadrought.”
KOBI-TV NBC 5 Medford