Letters to the Editor

Keep North Bend residents safe; support fire station bond

Many North Bend residents may not know it, but we are currently at risk of being left without local help in the event of a fire, medical emergency or accident. Fortunately, you can help correct this risky situation by voting Yes on Proposition 1 - Fire Station on February 8.

Prop. 1 – Fire Station will allow us to replace North Bend’s dilapidated, unhealthy, and unsafe fire house and help ensure our local fire department can respond to us in emergencies. Built in 1939 and updated in 1970, the building housing our fire fighters and their lifesaving equipment could be severely compromised by even a small earthquake or flood—stranding fire fighters and their emergency apparatus and preventing them from assisting residents in need. Indeed, engineers recently found that at least one third of the station could collapse in earthquake the size of the 2001 Nisqually quake.

Take one good look at the building and you will understand why. The ceiling is already falling in several places due to a leaky roof. The electrical infrastructure is so outdated that the watch office has become a tangle of wires and electrical cords rigged to support the communications equipment. One steep, narrow, stairwell leads the fire fighters to and from their sleeping quarters. Just one of these awful conditions could compromise the ability of our first responders to get to us in an emergency. All of them combined could mean we are left with no help at all.

Passage of Prop. 1 will issue a $5 million bond so we can build a new fire house that will serve the North Bend area for the next 50 years. The land for station, at East North Bend Way and Maloney Grove, is already owned by the city so we will face no land acquisition costs. The building of the station will provide many local construction jobs. And the cost to residents for this safe, new fire station? Property owners will pay just 19 cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation, or about $67 per year for residents whose homes are assessed at $350,000. Costs will be shared between North Bend and District 38 residents who are served by the fire station. The bond will be paid off over 20 years.

I know times are tough, but this is one issue that simply cannot wait for action. We can’t risk the safety of our families and friends, our homes and our local businesses due to an unsafe fire station that could jeopardize our fire fighters’ ability to respond to us in an emergency. With Prop. 1 – Fire Station, we can ensure we have a new fire station that will safely house our fire fighters and their equipment so that they can continue to fight fires, respond to medical emergencies and save lives in our community.

You can read more about Prop. 1 – Fire Station and view photos of our dilapidated fire house at www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-the-Fire-Station. See for yourself -and then please join me in voting "yes" on Prop. 1 on February 8.

Fritz Ribary, North Bend

Executive director, Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce.

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