GEARHART - The city of Gearhart will be able to purchase a new fire truck, now that voters have supported a five-year, $590,000 bond measure.

The measure was approved with 317 yes votes (71 percent) to 124 no (28 percent).

Meanwhile, in the Gearhart rural fire district, residents are looking forward to a new fire station, because voters approved a five-year, $750,000 bond measure. The vote was 352 (65 percent) to 189 votes (34 percent).

The operations of the rural district are no longer in jeopardy because $250,000 of the district's bond measure will go toward paying the district's fire protection contract with the city of Gearhart for the next five years.

The city bond measure will replace a 21-year-old fire truck that no longer meets federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. The truck also can't carry emergency medical equipment, and some of the longer ladders also won't fit on the rig. The truck is also showing signs of wear and will soon need costly repairs that can be done only by fire truck repair specialists.

The fire station planned for the rural district will be constructed in the north end of the district on the corner of Westlake Lane and U.S. 101.

Supporters of the fire station said owners of properties within five miles of the new substation could reduce their homeowners insurance because response time would improve.

The money reserved for operating the district could stem the loss of property taxes the district experienced this year when portions of the district were annexed to the city. More annexations planned in the Highlands and Palisades areas this year could result in the loss of another $25,000 in property tax revenue, according to district board Chairman Robert Kloss.

The district pays $98,000 a year to the city for fire protection.

Gary Burns, president of the Gearhart Firefighters Association, was cautiously optimistic Tuesday night, following early returns indicating the city's and the rural fire district's bond measures were passing. This was confirmed later in the evening when updated counts were released.

He said it was "unbelievable" how many city voters supported the bond measure.

While the support was somewhat narrower in the rural district, "I think we're still standing pretty good," Burns said.

Burns said the Gearhart volunteer firefighters who created signs for both the city and the rural elections and mailed letters to voters seeking support, deserved a "standing ovation" for their efforts.


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