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Editorial

Now is the time to stand up for Molalla's firefighters


There is no doubt that every person who lives in the Molalla area appreciates the hard work and dedication of Molalla firefighters, who are ready at any time of the day or night to come to the aid of those in need.

But now it is time to show our appreciation to these men and women in the one way that really matters — vote yes on measures 3-442 and 3-443 in the May 20 primary election.

The fact is Molalla Fire District is the busiest district in the valley. Last year, they handled 2,193 calls. The only district that came close to that number was Canby, with 2,188 calls.

At the same time, Molalla Fire District’s tax base is the lowest in the county — embarrassingly low at 78 cents per thousand assessed value, while every other comparable district in the valley receives an average of $2.20 per thousand.

It is time to provide Molalla’s firefighters and paramedics with the funding they need to save lives and homes — and it could be your own.

If you vote down this bond, what would you tell yourself as you stood watching your rural home burn to the ground — would you say, “These firefighters don’t need a water tender. Gee, I’m glad I voted down that bond.”

Or if you were waiting for what seemed like hours for paramedics to arrive while your spouse was lying on the floor gasping for breath, and the paramedics couldn’t get there in time because they were already out on another call, and there was not enough people at the station to send out a second ambulance — would you say, “Gee, I’m glad I voted down that levy.”

Molalla Fire District voters have rejected every levy or bond proposal in the past 27 years. As a result, Molalla’s firefighters and paramedics have been working on a shoestring budget. The fire district does not have enough money to keep the people on the force it needs to handle all the calls. They desperately need at least two more full-time, permanent people who will be there when you need them.

The district’s equipment is outdated and in many cases beyond repair. Our firefighters are walking into burning buildings with breathing apparatus so outdated, they have to make repairs to the equipment every time they use it. Do we really want to send these people into a situation where their lives are seriously at risk because we wanted to save a few pennies on our taxes?

Our fire district doesn’t have a fire tender. The last one gave out about a year ago, and they have had to make do with water tenders borrowed from neighboring districts. That can’t go on forever. And if it were your home or farm building going up in flames, who are you going to blame if firefighters can’t bring in a tender full of water to extinguish the fire?

Two of the district’s engines are 28 years old and have open cabs, so that firefighters must ride out in the weather. These engines do not meet national safety standards. How much longer do we think these engines can last? The fire tender was so old, they couldn’t get the parts for it any more. The floor boards were rotted away. What’s going to happen when these engines, like the fire tender, break down for good? And 28-year-old engines will break down. That’s the reality.

The list goes on —Molalla’s equipment and vehicles are outdated or nearly beyond repair because the district has not had the funds needed to replace them when needed. Now they are at the breaking point.

It’s the voter’s responsibility to see that our firefighters and paramedics have the funding they so desperately need.

And they aren’t asking for much. Even if this bond and levy do go through, Molalla Fire District will still have the lowest tax rate in the Willamette Valley. Passing this bond and levy will only cost each voter maybe $100 per year.

Is your life, your home, your children’s safety worth $100 per year?

- P. Savage



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  • 22 Oct 2014

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  • 23 Oct 2014

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