An attempt to provide additional resources to rural fire departments in Oregon was recently endorsed by a coalition of Oregon Senators from both political parties. With the passage of Senate Bill 1068, it will be easier for landowners outside of rural fire protection districts to join them voluntarily.
The law would allow landowners to voluntarily join rural fire protection districts and let the district’s governing board annex land within the district’s service area under certain conditions.
This fixes a problem that allows some areas to be covered by a rural fire protection district without contributing to the cost of such protection.
“This is a simple issue of fairness. It fixes a mistake in an old statute with devastating consequences.”
“This bill helps Oregon’s rural fire protection districts get the funding they need and are supposed to receive to meet firefighter staffing and safety standards,” said Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland), who drafted the legislation and carried the bill. “Our firefighters, who put their lives on the line to protect our communities, deserve our unwavering support, and this legislation is an important step.”
Firefighters from all throughout the state-backed Senate Bill 1068 because they believe it will strengthen rural fire protection districts’ ability to respond to fires and other emergencies in Oregon.
“Senate Bill 1068 fortifies the role of our rural fire protection districts in effective wildfire suppression in Oregon’s remote residential areas,” said one of the bill’s Chief Sponsors, Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland).
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“The core idea is fair sharing of costs and responsibilities among the people protected by these rural fire protection districts and stabilizing their operating budgets over the long term. We can’t meet the challenge of the new normal of wildfire without them.”
The House of Representatives will now take up Senate Bill 1068.
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