Clackamas County Fire District #1 started as a neighborhood fire department. About 40 years ago, District #1 covered less than 20 square miles and served less than 10,000 people.
In 2017, Clackamas County Fire District #1 covers over 220 square miles and serves over 220,000 people.
Forty years ago, in accordance with state law, the Board of Directors was selected by ballot from the local neighborhoods.
In 2017, Clackamas County Fire District #1 selects its Board of Directors in the same manner.
The Board currently is made up of members from the Milwaukie area and Happy Valley.
The state law provides for larger fire districts to have sub-districts or zones.
As Clackamas County Fire is now covering over 220 square miles, we should establish director zones so that communities can be adequately represented.
Oregon City has been part of the Fire District for almost ten years. They have no representation on the Board. This is a population of over 35,000 – almost twice the size of Happy Valley and Milwaukie. The south and east end of the district has about 40 percent of the population and these people have no direct representation.
As Clackamas Fire grows over the next several years, a system should be in place that will provide governance that allows the Board to adjust to the new boundaries. This system should require each board position to represent a zone.
With four equally populated zones; one in the north, south, east and west: this fire district will be equally represented on the board. The fifth position could be At-Large. Everyone should vote for that position as it is a tie-breaking position.
This will increase interest for people running for the Board as they will only need to campaign in their home zone. They will not have to travel across the whole of the district as they will be representing a certain sector thereof.
Clackamas County Fire District #1 is no longer a neighborhood fire department. Covering over 220 square miles, it can be said that it is now a regional governmental entity that must be governed accordingly. It is time to bring its governance in line with the present and the future.
Our fire stations respond in zones, why aren’t we voting in zones?
Most every school district has director zones. Clackamas Fire is larger than each school district in the area that it serves.
Metro, the regional government for the Portland area, elects its council by zones. The Sunrise Water District elects its directors by zones.
Safety for all is the goal of Clackamas Fire. Let us also make a motion for safety of the vote; the Hallmark of Democracy – Fair and Equal Representation.
As you determine your choice for Clackamas County Fire District #1 Board members, look to see who stands for Fair and Equal Representation.
Steve Bates is a 40 year of resident Boring, an unincorporated community in Clackamas County. He is a declared candidate for Position 4 of the Clackamas County Fire District #1 Board of Directors.