Lake Chinook Fire District plans to adopt Oregon fire code

Three Rivers residents say not enough transparency

Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue to adopt Oregon fire code

CULVER, Ore. - The Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue District is taking steps to adopt the Oregon fire code, but not everyone is pleased with the news.

NewsChannel 21 heard about the story from Three Rivers Recreation Site residents. Some said they're concerned the fire district isn't being transparent enough.

The Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue District has about 10 volunteers and covers 44 square miles. Recently, the district decided it needed to adopt the state fire code, which comes with new fees.

A public meeting was held earlier this week to discuss the issue.

But residents and property owners in Three Rivers say the district needs to be more forthcoming with information. 

Kevin Fitzpatrick, a property owner in Three Rivers and a board member at Three Rivers Land Owners Association, said Thursday he would like to see more transparency.

"Any time anyone throws more money on you ... without explanation of maybe a couple previous meetings, to just throw it out there at us, you know: 'Here you go -- this is what's going to happen,' I think that's probably where it fell short with them," Fitzpatrick said. 

But the district's fire chief said that was not the intention.

Don Colfels said the code needs to be adopted because the fire district recently became licensed to transport patients. 

"It's pretty simple; it's most fire departments either adopt it or go with the ORS (Oregon Revised Statutes). We don't have any actual fire code here, so we have to adopt basically a fire code, so Oregon fire code would be the one to adopt," Colfels said.

Colfels said about 40 to 50 people attended the public meeting and the fire code wasn't actually discussed.

Instead ,residents expressed concern with the new fee for burn permits. Instead of being free, it would cost a property owner $25 a year.

The next public hearing is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 8at 2 p.m. at the Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue District.

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