Oregon Tribe's First Fire Department On Steady Track
A new, tribally-run fire department is becoming a reality for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, the development will improve response time to emergencies.
Currently, the tribe relies on a consolidated fire district in Willamina for services. But Steve Warden, Emergency Services Chief for the Grand Ronde, says that provides an average response time of 17 minutes* when it should be 2-5 minutes.
Furthermore, adds Warden, having a fire department situated on tribal property means security should a Cascadia Subduction Zone event – namely an earthquake – hit.
“Where 9.0 hits the coast, and knocks everything out," says Warden. "Well, the Grand Ronde is pretty much an island out here, we’ve got one major pinch point that if that bridge goes down nobody’s getting in and nobody’s getting’ out.”
More than $600,000 will be budgeted towards fire station management. The tribe is also exploring federal grants as part of the 5-year timeline. Once created, the fire department will provide roughly a dozen jobs, and emergency skills training for tribal members.
*Based on 2018 data.
Copyright 2020, KLCC.