New deal coming soon for North Bend fire station?

A new deal for a better North Bend fire station could be moving forward as early as this week.

Negotiations for a new fire station between King County Fire District 38 and the city of North Bend, three years in the offing, could turn a corner soon, thanks to a new agreement being drafted by one of the parties. Duncan Wilson, city administrator for North Bend, said counterparts with District 38 have a new draft agreement and plan on delivering it some time in the next few weeks.

"We are waiting anxiously to see it," Wilson said.

Wilson and Mayor Ken Hearing will review it, and if the plan passes their muster, will forward it to the city council.

Important elements from the city's perspective include the station's location and functionality, the cost split between district 38 and the city, ownership interests and the potential impact of fire district annexations. Also requiring hammering out is what would happen if District 38 dissolved to become part of a Regional Fire Authority, now in the research stage.

"We want to anticipate as many of the potential issues as we can," Wilson said.

Construction of a fire hall would require a bond issue.

The existing facility, located next to North Bend City Hall, was built as a volunteer station in the 1940s and has been remodeled several times to accommodate growth in the area. Fire crews living there have dealt with rat infestations, cramped sleeping quarters, briefly evacuating the facility in 2008 due to asbestos contamination.

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