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Commissioners approve AMR ambulance contract

By a 3-2 vote Thursday, commissioners formally approved a five-year contract with American Medical Response to provide Clackamas County ambulance service.

After years of politics, AMR ambulances will continue to respond to local emergencies, ending a drawn-out, expensive process that began when three commissioners demanded independent bids.

“We are elated that this long and difficult process is finally over, and look forward to continue providing Clackamas County residents and visitors with the highest quality service,” said AMR Oregon General Manager Randy Lauer.

Lauer said he was still confused as to why Chairman John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith voted no after a year of negotiations. Smith has frequently said that she wants to reduce duplication of services with fire paramedics, but she dropped the issue once she understood that AMR, as just a part of the emergency-management system, cannot unilaterally make system changes. Ludlow advocated for the inclusion of a contractual requirement for an annual outside-audited financial statement, versus the annual county-reviewed financial statement that AMR has provided with no issues for more than 20 years.

“The net effect is that an audited statement costs an extra $20,000 to provide the county with the same information,” Lauer said.

Ludlow and Smith said that they continued to oppose AMR’s contract because of the lack of competitors. Another provider, Metro West had wanted to be included in the process but missed the deadline.

In February, Commissioner Jim Bernard flip-flopped on his opposition and voted to award the contract to AMR.

Commissioners Paul Savas and Martha Schrader have long supported how AMR’s contract includes continued service for its nationally renowned Reach and Treat Team on Mount Hood, its Clackamas River Rescue Program and a 19 percent reduction in transport costs for the term of the contract.



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