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Westfir City Council meeting 11/7: New volunteer Fire Chief sworn in

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Westfir honors their covered bridge heritage with a miniature version on display. City Hall is in the Background. Herald photo

By JOY KINGSBURY/for The Herald  —  Standing tall in his fireman’s uniform, Jim (Gunny) McKee was sworn in as Westfir’s Volunteer Fire Chief by Mayor D’Lynn Williams. He plans to meet soon with Oakridge City Administrator and Oakridge Fire Chief Scott Hollett to discuss plans for the budding new Westfir Fire Department and its proximity and links to Oakridge. McKee has stated in the past that he believes this will prove to be a good relationship and a helpful one for both cities.

Fire equipment rolls in from other stations

McKee announced that he has acquired a container filled with useful fire fighting equipment from the City of Stayton. Included in the gift are helmets masks, decals, patient information sheets, and other miscellaneous items that will be very helpful in Westfir’s quest to establish a new fire department.

Plus, Gunny also has a promise of one hundred smoke detectors to be donated by Kidde Fire Corporation.

However, the new Fire Chief plans to hold off on recruitment until he feels certain that he can keep his personnel busy with training programs. He noted that this will also be great for Oakridge as well, since these volunteers can fill Oakridge Fire Department shifts.

McKee indicated that he needs eight trained fire fighters to man the fire engine. “ When this happens,” says McKee, “we will be responsible for our own fires.”

A search for land for the new fire station underway

Councilor Edward Johnstone is pursuing the purchase of land for the new fire department. The city is looking at steel buildings of approximately 2,500 square feet to house the department.

Civil West Engineering, headquartered out of Coos Bay, will be the project engineer.

Other City business and a town hall meeting is on the schedule

The Westfir council entered into a contract with Jackson Stone, who resigned from his Relief City Operator position and will continue to input the monthly reports to DEQ under an agreement. He will remain in place until their new City Operator finishes his certification process. Eric Harris has been hired as the new Relief City Operator.

Councilor Deretta Huey discussed the upcoming bridge lighting event. She is in need of volunteers for the project.

Mayor and Council will hold a town hall meeting for Westfir city residents to comment and discuss city affairs and to voice citizen concerns. The meeting will be Tuesday, November 15th at the Casey’s RV Park’s recreation room at 7:00 pm.

City recorder, Nicole Tritton, reported on uses for water resources. There was some talk of a bottled water plant since Westfir has drinking water from the pristine Waldo Lake.

Two citizens were granted reduction in their water bills. This was due to sprinkler timers during the evacuation caused by the Cedar Creek Fire.

The police report noted two illegal burns, and one house was broken into.

Westfir City Council meets on the first Monday of each month at the Westfir City Hall at 5:30 pm. The City provides an online option through Zoom. Meetings are open to the public.

Joy Kingsbury is an Oakridge resident and regular contributor to The Herald. Joy Kingsbury photo


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