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

Ground-breaking set for new Idanha-Detroit fire station

The Idanha-Detroit Rural Fire Protection District is inviting the community to a celebration and groundbreaking for the district’s new fire station.

The event is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, June 15, at the intersection of Blowout Road and Highway 22.

“This is huge for the community up there to get a new fire station sufficient for them and the community for years to come,” Fire Chief Fred Patterson told The Canyon Weekly. 

The district currently is split between two sites, its aging station in Idanha and the Detroit Community Center, which houses just one engine.

Patterson said the current building is too old, has water leaks and is too hot in the summer.

“We found three rats in it this week,” he said. “That building has to go away.”

The district will be able to house all of its engines and other apparatus at the new station, Patterson said.

The project costs $4.1 million, while the district currently has $2.9 million in hand. Local companies such as Siegmund Excavation and Construction, Freres Engineered Wood and Frank Lumber have donated materials and labor, but the district still is seeking grants and community donations to close the gap (see the info box for how to contribute).

The goal, Patterson said, is to open the station by next summer.

The Idanha-Detroit Rural Fire Protection District, which was founded in 1954, is responsible for 8 square miles, mainly along Highway 22 between the Breitenbush River bridge just before Detroit to about 1.5 miles past Idanha. Much of the surrounding area is under Willamette National Forest jurisdiction.

The station has no full-time staffing. Patterson is a volunteer and the operation has a part-time administrator, Laura Harris. The roster currently includes 13 volunteer firefighters.

This fire season, which began May 15 and ends Oct. 1, the district was able to leverage money from its operating levy, which was renewed by the voters in 2023, as well as a state grant to pay for four seasonal firefighting positions.

The funds from the levy and the grant pay for four positions for seven days per week and 10 hours per day, but Patterson is splitting up the positions in a way that allowed him to hire 18 seasonal firefighters, many of whom also work in surrounding communities such as Silverton, Turner and Newberg. The result is that he will have four people on site for five days per week and two people for the other two days while providing 12 hours of coverage per day.

“It’s amazing that people are coming from all over to help out,” Patterson said. “It’s giving a lot of people added experience in working in teams.”

HOW TO CONTRIBUTE

The Idanha-Detroit Rural Fire Protection District still is accepting donations and contributions of materials and labor for the construction of its new fire station. Contact District Fire Chief Fred Patterson at [email protected] or call 503-983-5651.

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