Elections | News | Oregon

Bend City Council Puts Fire Levy Question To Voters

OPB | Jan. 9, 2014 12:44 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 9, 2014 3:19 p.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Bend voters will have a chance in May to weigh in on a proposal to increase funding for fire and emergency services.  On Wednesday night, Bend’s City Council unanimously voted to put a temporary, 5-year local option levy on the ballot.

Battalion Chief Dave Howe helps clean equipment in Bend.

Battalion Chief Dave Howe helps clean equipment in Bend.

David Nogueras / OPB

The measure would bring in about $2 million a year through a property tax increase of 20 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value.

This summer, Bend Fire Chief Larry Langston told council that emergency funding hasn’t keep pace with recent population growth.  Langston wants to reduce response times by adding additional ambulance crews.
Before councilors agreed to put the question to voters, many voiced support for the measure itself.

“This translates directly into saving lives,” said Bend Mayor, Jim Clinton.

“Regardless of what other disagreements we might have, this really is one we need to all support.”

A recent survey of 500 likely-voters conducted by Portland-based DHM Research found 60 percent would support the measure. 

The survey was paid for by the city and the rural fire district and had a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

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