SVFR and WLAD receive seismic grants


4 fire stations, ambulance building to be upgraded

Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue (SVFR) was awarded four Seismic Rehabilitation Grants from the Oregon Business Development Department — Infrastructure Finance Authority.

Western Lane Ambulance District (WLAD) also received one grant.

The grants, totaling $729,555, will cover the seismic rehabilitation costs of four of the eight fire stations and the WLAD station.

SVFR/WLAD Director Jim Langborg said, “Each is technically a separate grant.”

North Fork Fire Station will receive $177,139; Clear Lake Fire Station will receive $181,022; Sutton Fire Station will receive $130,734; Canary Road Fire Station will receive $101,386; and WLAD will receive $139,274.

According to Langborg, the SVFR Main Station on Highway 101 was recently built with adequate seismic protection, so would not require seismic improvements.

“We were initially told we would probably get our top two (grant requests), but we were able to get all of them,” Langborg said.

Using the grants, the fire district will re-engineer and retrofit buildings to withstand a severe earthquake and be useable in the aftermath.

Langborg said, “The problem with fire stations is that after an earthquake, either they are damaged to the point that you cannot access your equipment because the doors get jammed, or, if the station fails, the equipment is damaged and you can’t use it.”

He said the seismically safe stations would be used for disaster response as well as housing federal resources for recovery, treatment centers and other necessary tasks.

“That is crucial to us, because we have important equipment in there that will be needed right afterwards,” Langborg said. “In a major Cascadia Subduction Zone event, we are expecting the Siuslaw River Bridge to fail and two of the stations are south of the bridge. One is up the North Fork of the Siuslaw River, which most likely will be isolated by landslides.”

SVFR Station No. 2, located just east of Florence City Hall in Historic Old Town, did not qualify for grant money because it is in the tsunami zone.

“Station No. 2 not only sits in a tsunami zone, but it is also an older station,” Langborg said. “It houses some very important equipment such as our boats, ATVs, some of our better pumpers and a water tender. All of those would be needed in a post earthquake environment. We want to make sure that those are protected.”

The Station No. 2 building is city property and is not owned by the district.

According to Langborg, WLAD has also outgrown its existing building off Ninth Street, adjacent to Peace Harbor Hospital.

He said the districts were looking at several potential sites outside of the tsunami zone to house both Station No. 2 and the ambulance district operations.

“If we can find a way to partner here, it is going to be cheaper and just makes sense,” he said.

SVFR’s stations will be rehabilitated one at a time because each station will have to be closed down during construction.

Langborg said the entire project is scheduled to be completed over the next five years.

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