News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

New board, interim chief in place for fire district

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

The Idanha-Detroit Rural Fire Protection District is back in business and moving forward.

The district had a rocky late winter as four of the five board members and the interim chief all resigned amid a budget battle over the lieutenant/office manager position at the district that galvanized the community.

But things are returning to normal. With assistance from the Marion County Board of Commissioners, four new board members have been sworn in and a new interim chief has been selected. Both actions took place at the April 15 meeting.

Brandon Hamilton is the new board president, and he has been joined by Greg Dyke, Serena Morones and Matt Lofton. 

Morones will serve as secretary-treasurer, while Don Tesdal, the lone holdover board member, is the vice-president.

The board did not meet in March amid the wrangling over the budget. No district business could legally be conducted unless there were at least 3 board members. The body needed time to regroup as the commissioners interviewed applicants and then met to appoint the new members. State statutes and the district’s by-laws call for the county commission to resolve such situations.

Retired Fire Chief Kevin Clark has been named the interim chief. 

Clark will be paid $25 per hour for up to 20 hours per week, wrote Hamilton in a guest blog he submitted for publication in last week’s The Canyon Weekly. Clark signd his contract at the April 22 board meeting. No timetable has been set for hiring a permanent chief.

The next big challenge for the district, which serves the cities of Detroit and Idanha as well as a large stretch of Highway 22 in the upper Canyon, will be working on finding a site for a new fire station. The board is looking at both the current site on Highway 22 in Idanha as well as property on Blowout Road. The new Detroit Civic Center building also might be used to store fire district apparatus. Board member Dyke will lead a committee overseeing new station design. 

The board meets again May 5, 6 p.m.

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