City to consider fire station bond

A Public Safety Bond Committee is recommending that the Ashland City Council place a bond measure on the May 2011 ballot to replace Fire Station No. 2 on Ashland Street.

The City Council will receive a report from the committee during a meeting that begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St. The council will decide at a later date whether to put the bond on the ballot.

Replacing the cramped, aging station would cost nearly $3 million.

The owner of a home assessed at $237,410 — the median in Ashland — would pay an extra $30.20 annually for the 20-year life of the bond, or almost 13 cents per $1,000 in assessed value.

In 1999, voters approved a $4 million bond measure to replace Fire Station No. 1 downtown, but they later rejected a $5.4 million bond measure to replace Fire Station No. 2.

A new proposed design to replace Fire Station No. 2 scales back the earlier plans.

Appointed in January, the Public Safety Bond Committee was tasked with looking at major needs for the fire and police departments.

Committee members said the police department needs a larger building, and the most cost effective solution would be to relocate the department into The Grove, which is separated from the police station on East Main Street by a parking lot. Remodeling The Grove, which is used for community events and classes, would cost an estimated $1 million, compared to $1.35 million to remodel and expand the existing police station.

The committee recommended that a police station expansion bond be placed before voters some time after May 2011 — not at the same time a fire station bond could go before voters.

The committee also recommended against putting a firefighter training tower and a fire engine with a long, attached ladder on the ballot.

Members said the training tower was the lowest priority. They said there is a valid need for a ladder fire engine, but that equipment should not be funded through bonds.

Other agenda items for the City Council's Tuesday night meeting include considering whether to adopt a Southern Oregon University master plan and hearing an annual report from Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness about crime rates in town.

The City Council will also consider whether to reverse the direction of one of the two Rogue Valley Transportation District bus routes in Ashland.

That way, buses would travel in opposite directions and riders could choose the quickest route to their destinations.

The City Council will consider an ordinance change that would allow for "green burials." People could bury their loved ones without being required to use a concrete or metal liner.

An agenda item to consider possible raises for city employees who are paid less than the median in their field will likely be delayed because two councilors will be absent from Tuesday's meeting.

For a complete list of agenda items and for details on each item, visit

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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