Boring leaders call for vote on fire district
The Boring Fire District board has been criticized on whether the the district will join with the Clackamas Fire District and if so, how that will happen. Critics claim the board is trying to merge Boring with Clackamas without a vote of the people.
The criticism began last week with an open letter by Steve Bates, chairman of the Boring Community Planning Organization.
Bates urges people to attend the 7 p.m. May 20 meeting of the Boring Fire Board at the Boring fire station because he claims it plans to enter a contract for services with the Clackamas district, which it can legally do without putting it on the ballot.
We should all be demanding a vote before our fire department is dismantled to the point of no return, he said.
Larry Anderson, manager of the Boring Water District and whose grandfather donated the money for Boring's first fire truck, said the firefighter's union is behind the move to merge with Boring because it financed the campaigns of three board members elected last year, Steve Kent, Ken Blocker and Jay Cross.
We are trying to put a stop to this. We don't want to be part of Clackamas fire, we want to be on our own, he said. Clackamas has debt up the wazoo, and Boring fire has $1 million in the bank.
Anderson said he and others plan to fight any move to join with Clackamas that does not involve a public vote.
We're not going to let this fire department go up in flames like they're trying to do," he said.
All three new board members pledged during the election campaign that they would not join the two districts without a vote of the people, said Norm Rice, who heads up the Boring Oregon Foundation.
I believe this is simply a way that the board has chosen to avoid bringing it to a vote of the people, he said. Contract of services is basically just a way to dismantle the Boring Fire District.
Anderson said a recall is possible.
I'm not sure we're not above a recall of those three board members selected this past year, he said.
Earlier this year, Boring Fire Chief Brian Stewart said any change in the district will go through a public process. A study last year conducted by Emergency Services Consulting International, recommends a legal integration between the two county fire departments, with several options on the table, Stewart said.