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Lebanon Fire District goes to voters for station upgrade

Lebanon Fire District

The Lebanon Fire District is asking voters this November to approve a bond that would pay for a new fire station and five new fire trucks. The district says the bond would cost the average homeowner about $31 a year. The bulk of the money would go toward replacing the 44-year-old main fire station at 1050 W. Oak Street.

Lebanon Fire Chief Gordon Sletmoe said the current station was not built to modern standards. "Some of the living areas where the firefighters spend a lot of their time are about as far away from the trucks as you can get, and so that delays response times," he said.

The current facility is also not earthquake resistant. What’s more, Sletmoe said the space where the firefighters sleep during their 24-hour shifts is not built to current fire codes.

“It feels like a double standard," he said. "It feels like we’re telling the public to do one thing and we’re doing something differently. That’s why we’re attempting to rectify that problem and we’re attempting to do it now.”

The money would also go toward the purchase of three fire engines and two brush trucks used for wildland firefighting. The bond will appear on the ballot for the November 5 election.

The Lebanon Fire District is an independent body of government and covers 134 square miles and includes the city of Lebanon and several surrounding communities. The district responded to 6,659 calls in 2018, which represents a 64% increase since 2008.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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