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Agreement final for new North Bend fire station

With sighs of relief, North Bend City Council members and King County Fire District 38 commissioners unanimously approved an agreement last week to replace current Fire Station 87 with a new facility.

The long-awaited approval came at the council's Tuesday, June 20, meeting and at a board of commissioners' special meeting on Thursday, June 22.

"Thank God we got it done," said North Bend Councilmember Alan Gothelf.

The agreement caps a two-year ordeal between the two entities to propose and finalize the finer details of funding, access, ownership, design and long-term provision of space for the station.

Both sides agreed that costs and ownership would be split. District 38 has agreed to pay 57 percent of the projected $5 million station, while the city of North Bend is responsible for 43 percent.

District 38 pays more because it includes 63 percent the the assessed evaluation of the station's service area, while 37 percent lies in the city of North Bend.

"They are paying a little less but we are getting 50 percent ownership as a trade off," North Bend City Administrator Duncan Wilson said. "This is assuming the architect tells us we can build it at the price we anticipate."

With the interlocal agreement final, the push for a new station moves into the voters' sphere. The fire district will forward a $2.85 million bond to its residents, while North Bend will float a $2.15 million bond.

"It's now up to the voters to get it moving," said Mayor Pro-Tem Dee Williamson.

If approved, the new Fire Station 87 would be energy efficient and would include a public meeting room, bay space for six vehicles, eight sleeping rooms, crew and public restrooms, a decontamination room, a fitness room, storage, living and office spaces.

It must meet the standards set by Eastside Fire and Rescue, include the essentials of a modern fire station and fit in and enhance the character of the city of North Bend.

The current fire hall, adjacent to North Bend City Hall, was built as a volunteer station in the 1940s and has been remodeled several times. Fire crews living there have dealt with rat infestations, asbestos and cramped sleeping quarters. The discovery of asbestos resulted in a temporary emergency closure of the station in 2008.

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