Editorial: Support Chinook fire bond

Though the amount may be small by city standards, the $660,000 bond measure being sought by the Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue District west of Culver will do good things for both summer and permanent residents within its boundaries.

The money, if the measure is approved in the current election, will go to build the district a new fire hall on Graham Road at the south end of the Three Rivers subdivision near Lake Billy Chinook in Jefferson County. The land was donated to the district by subdivision residents several years ago, says Don Colfels, the district’s only paid employee and its fire chief.

A new fire hall would benefit the district in several ways. Though it has only about 250 full-time residents, there are roughly 1,000 lots within its 40 square miles. The move to Graham Road would put it closer to the Air Park, Rim Park and Forest Park subdivisions, all of which are within its boundaries.

At the same time, the current fire hall is too small to hold all the district’s equipment, says Colfels. The result is that larger equipment cannot be kept indoors and must be drained during the winter, making it unusable in cold weather. That, in turn, drives insurance costs up.

A new building would be large enough to house all the district’s equipment and provide for dormitory space as well.

That latter is important, Colfels says, in a community of largely retirement-age residents. Fire fighting is strenuous work, and attracting young volunteers can be difficult. District officials hope a dormitory will help persuade younger people to tackle the job.

If the bond measure passes, district property owners will pay 50.9 cents per $1,000 of taxable property value to support it, or just about $50 per year. That’s a small price for the benefit they will receive, and residents should approve it.