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Hazeldell Rural Fire Protection District Board Meeting: Volunteers, not equipment, needed

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Hazeldell’s logo is emblazoned on a fire truck. herald photo

On April 28th, 2022, the Hazeldell Rural Fire Protection District Board of Directors met at the Oakridge Fire Department.

The meeting was attended by the full Board. Present was Skip Baker, Vern Beard, John Milandin, Board Chair Herb Wick and Secretary/Treasurer, Joan Peterkin.  Oakridge Fire Department Captains, Arik Higdon and Scott Hollett were also attending.

Local politicians could help with funding

Oakridge Mayor Chrissy Hollett, attending as an interested party, told the group that she had been in communication with both State Representative Cedric Hayden, and East Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch, regarding funds that could be available for local fire departments.

Mayor Hollett told the Board that there is $80,000 available as reimbursement for covid related expenses as well as a one-million-dollar grant for capital assets in Representative Hayden’s District.

While these funds may be available, grant applications would need to be submitted and the Hazeldell Rural Fire District does not have a hired staff person that could write the requisite grant proposals.

Volunteers over equipment

John Milandin said that they needed volunteers and staff more than they needed equipment.  Scott Hollett told the group that seven new volunteers have recently graduated from the Training Academy and would be available soon.

There was a brief discussion about selling, as surplus, the 1979 Ford Tender (Apparatus #1525).  It was decided that the minor repairs necessary to make the unit functional should be carried out. Then the truck should be listed for sale.  Both Captains Hollett and Higdon urged the Board to take this action.

Mayor Hollett proposed that the Hazeldell Rural Fire Protection District, in conjunction with Oakridge & Westfir, hire a consultant to do a feasibility study to consider combining Oakridge, Westfir & Hazeldell into one “Special District”.  She said many other areas around the state have followed this format with much success. She believes the idea has merit.

Mayor Hollett was asking that the Hazeldell Board appoint two Board members to meet with the consultant and other respective community representatives to consider the notion. According to the mayor, each of the respective communities would be better served with a “Special District” rather than operating individually as they now do.

The Board kept an open mind

However, the Board had serious reservations about Mayor Hollett’s proposal. But, in the spirit of keeping an “open mind”, the Board voted in favor of considering the matter with three voting yes and two abstaining.

Vern Beard abstained because he is resigning from the board and moving from the area.  Secretary-Treasurer Peterkin also abstained.  John Milandin and Skip Baker volunteered to be on the committee to consider the feasibility of forming the Special District. They would be joined by two members from Westfir and two from Oakridge.

Applications gladly accepted

The Fire Department needs volunteers.  Hazeldell needs volunteers…If you, or someone you know, would like to help your community, please call the Oakridge Fire Department (541) 782-2416.  Training is provided and there is a stipend program that will provide compensation.  A volunteer application can be downloaded from the Oakridge Fire Department’s website www.ci.oakridge.or.us/fire

You can make a difference.  Do it today.

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