By News-Register staff • 

Yamhill fire levy goes down to defeat

The 10-year, $1.95 million levy had been earmarked for capital projects, beginning with the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The cost to taxpayers was pegged at 55 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which typically runs significantly less than true market value.

The owner of a house valued at $150,000 for tax purposes, but worth significantly more on the open market, would have paid $82.50 a year.

Passage would have enabled the district to replace a 1977 engine, 1995 engine, 2003 rescue rig and complement self-contained breathing units.

It would have also enabled the district to replace the station’s roof and furnace, install an exhaust ventilation system and upgrade the communication system.

Fire Chief Brian Jensen said the district’s biggest need is the replacement of aging equipment. He noted the two newest engines are 20 years old. However, he said he does not feel the safety of personnel is at risk.

The department’s South Olive Street station is in dire need of attention.

The roof leaks during heavy rains. Bay heaters don’t meet current code or efficiency standards. The furnace badly needs replacement. The station currently lacks an exhaust ventilation system, which poses a safety hazard for its two full-timers and 18 volunteers.

The district covers 72 square miles of northern Yamhill County. Under Jensen’s direction, the district provides emergency medical service in addition to fire suppression service.

The countywide turnout was only 22.1 percent, but it topped 40 percent in the fire district.

The board, chaired by Jim Phillips, will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the fire station to discuss the setback.

“We’ll go over the results and try to develop plan B, C or whatever plan we are on these days.

“I thought we had a good chance going into this. That’s why we pursued it. I guess we didn’t do something right.”

In addition, the district had three board seats on the ballot.

In Position 1, Jon Peasley defeated Steven Featherstone 300 to 232, or 56.4 percent to 43.6. In Position 3, Tyler Reynolds apparently edged Paul Van De Grift 327 to 324, or 50.2 percent to 49.8. In Position 5, Clint Gilberson turned back Jeremy Livingston 358 to 211, or 62.9 percent to 37.1.

Peasley, Van De Grift and Gilberson were the incumbents.

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