The Canby Fire District held a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday for its new northside medical response station next to the city shops on Northeast Territorial Road.
The station was a centerpiece of the $4.9 million bond district voters overwhelmingly passed in November 2018, and the need for it has only become more apparent in the years since with increasing traffic on Highway 99E and the railroad sometimes hampering firefighters’ response to emergency calls on the north side of town.
But the project has also been complicated by skyrocketing costs for building materials and labor.
“We’ve been stretching that dollar a long way,” Fire Chief Jim Davis said of the $4.9 bond. “Like everywhere else, construction costs have gone through the roof, so trying to stay somewhat close to budget has been a real challenge.”
The long-term, 50-year lease the city granted the district for the property was a huge help in keeping costs down, Davis explained, with him and other officials saying the project would not have been possible otherwise.
Davis also credited the district’s Board of Directors for their creativity and flexibility in addressing budgetary concerns, as well as the Emerick Construction team, which made concessions to keep the price tag as low as possible.
The final station will span 3,600 square feet, about half of which will consist of equipment bays, with the rest dedicated to living quarters and support facilities. Its construction will be prefabricated metal.
While the station’s primary purpose will be medical, it will also house a fire engine, along with an ambulance and two firefighter/EMTs. Students in training may also be stationed there at times, Davis said.
“It’s going to greatly reduce response times for the north side of the city as well as the fire district going all the way up South End Road toward Oregon City,” Davis said. “The Clackamas Fire District is excited about us being here because it’s going to cut down response times in those areas.”
A number of Canby officials joined in the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday — including City Administrator Scott Archer, City Attorney and Assistant City Administrator Joe Lindsay, Public Works Director Jerry Nelzen and Council President Traci Hensley.
“I’ve been on the City Council for 10 years now, and this has been a conversation for a long time,” Hensley said. “This has been a long time coming, and I’m glad the city was able to partner with the fire district.”
She also thanked voters for “their confidence in our leadership and making this vision a reality.”
Board President Shawn Carroll and other board members were also in attendance, along with district officials and staff. The bond also included a remodel of the main station on South Pine Street, which was completed last year by Emerick.
The station will actually be the district’s third. Canby Fire also operates a substation on Highway 170, which primarily serves outlying areas of the district.
Officials hope the medical response station will be operational by early spring of 2022.
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