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

Idanha-Detroit fire levy passes

Voters in the Idanha-Detroit Rural Fire Protection District strongly backed the district’s renewal of its operating levy in Tuesday’s election.

According to unofficial results from the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, Measure 24-489 was passing with 62 percent of the vote. A total of 87 votes had been counted, 19 in Linn County and 68 in Marion County. Linn voters were backing the measure by a 74-26 percent margin, while the support was 59-41 percent in Marion.

Measure 24-489 was the lone Santiam Canyon measure on the generally light Nov. 7 ballot statewide.

The levy would continue to charge property owners 68 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and thus does not constitute a tax increase. The levy would cost a property owner whose property is assessed at $300,000 about $205 per year.

The funds will be used by the district to pay for staffers during the peak fire season of May 15 through Sept. 30. With the funds the district will be able to pay two medic-firefighters for 40 hours per week during that time period. 

“This would allow for the quick response of personnel to suppress fire, save lives and property,” district officials said in the summary of the measure in the voters’ pamphlet. 

District officials also noted in the measure’s explanatory statement that “the district regularly seeks other sources of revenue such as grants, but none of these sources will pay for operations in general. We have been able to purchase personal protective equipment and other supplies through grants. The operational levy is intended to pay for staffing.”

The extended levy will generate approximately $225,000 over a five-year span.

District officials also noted that when it was established in 1954, its sole mission was the suppression of fire. 

Today, Idanha-Detroit provides structure fire and wildland fire suppression, motor vehicle crash response, hazardous materials response and emergency medical services. 

By far the majority of the calls the district takes are for emergency medical services, district officials said.

Laura Harris, office administrator/lieutenant with the district added that “almost half of our total call volume for the entire year is during the summer months due to higher fire dangers and the increased amount of tourists and traffic on Highway 22. Having paid staff at the station reduces our response times, and also makes it possible for our volunteers and staff to respond to multiple incidents at once.”

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