Clallam County Fire District 2 to ask for levy lid lift

Act would generate $660,121 per year

PORT ANGELES — Voters in Clallam County Fire District 2 will consider a 50-cent levy lid lift Aug. 4.

District commissioners voted Tuesday to place the measure on the special election ballot, Clallam 2 Fire Rescue Chief Jake Patterson said Wednesday.

Commissioners Steve Hopf and Thomas Martin voted in favor of the levy proposal. Chairman David Whitney was absent.

“We are pleased with the vote,” Patterson said in a Thursday interview.

The levy lid lift would fund two full-time firefighters to help improve peak-hour response times west of Port Angeles and replace aging vehicles and equipment, Patterson said.

If approved, the levy rate in the district would rise from 86 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $1.36 per $1,000. The levy lid lift would generate $660,121 per year, Patterson said.

“Unfortunately, it’s coming at a time when everybody’s under a lot of stress,” Patterson said, referring to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We need to move forward with making sure the district is able to handle these types of emergencies and anything else we see in the future.”

Clallam County Fire District 2 covers about 85 square miles of unincorporated area outside of the city of Port Angeles from east of Deer Park Road to west of Lake Sutherland.

The levy lid lift would allow the district to hire one additional firefighter/EMT and one additional firefighter/paramedic to staff the Dry Creek station west of Port Angeles from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

It also would fund the replacement of the district’s aging vehicles and critical medical and safety equipment, Patterson said.

A committee composed of Patterson and a deputy chief, administrative supervisor, labor union representative, volunteer firefighter and two at-large citizens was formed last October to evaluate how the district could best meet the needs of its citizens.

The committee reached a consensus to recommend the levy lid lift.

Clallam 2 Fire Rescue now has one firefighter/EMT and one firefighter/paramedic on duty at all times. They are housed at the Gales Addition fire station east of Port Angeles, which “creates long response times to the western portion of the district,” Patterson said.

“The on-duty staff is joined by volunteer firefighters and EMTs who still represent the majority of the fire district responders,” Patterson said in a press release.

Patterson said the second function of the levy lid lift would be to implement a fully-funded equipment and vehicle replacement plan.

“There are several fire engines and water tenders in the district which need to be removed from service in the next one to five years and there is not enough current revenue to fund their replacement,” Patterson said.

“The fire district also has aging medical and safety equipment which need to be replaced because they have reached the end of their serviceable life span.”

Patterson has said about 60 percent of the district’s calls originate on the east side of Port Angeles and 40 percent are west-side calls.

Clallam County Fire District No. 2 received 1,664 calls for service in 2019, according to its website, www.clallamfire2.org.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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