Building preparations for a freeze

BE AWARE

  • Maintain contact with local Emergency Management office and/or National Weather Service for freeze warnings.
  • Allow heat into areas not getting warm air – open doors, cabinets, etc.
  • Move ceiling tiles to let warm air circulate to pipes above suspended ceilings.
  • Run HVAC continuously at a minimum of 50 degrees if temperatures stay cold for multiple days, consider increasing the temperature.
  • Any water pipes in or on outside walls should be allowed to run/drip.
  • Be sure all roof drains, scuppers and downspouts are free of debris.
  • Verify all outdoor plumbing, including irrigation is off and drained.
  • Be sure any chiller towers are drained.
  • Walk the building in the late evening to be sure all spaces are receiving heat.
  • Be sure all exterior openings are completely closed and locked.
  • Walk the building both days over a weekend.
  • Know where your water shutoff is located and the tools needed to turn the water off!
  • If you have any unwrapped exposed water pipes, insulate them as soon as possible.

BE ALERT

  • Freezing can happen over time, be sure to keep checking!
  • Sudden cold snaps during wet weather can cause icing in mechanical units and on sidewalks and other pavement.
  • Rooftops are especially susceptible to damage if water is trapped and freezes.
  • Listen for leaks.
  • Have extraction equipment and water containment equipment and supplies available for emergencies.
  • Know your local restoration contractors.

Notice of Second Public Hearing Before the Board of County Commissioners of Deschutes County, Oregon

A public hearing regarding the proposed formation of the Alfalfa Fire District will be held on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm at the Alfalfa Community Building at 26155 Willard Road.

To view the boundaries of the proposed district, contact the Deschutes County Counsel’s Office at 388-6623.

The proposed formation shall be referred to as the “Alfalfa Fire District”. The purpose of the proposed district, when fully functional, authorized by ORS Chapter 478, is to organize for rural fire protection for property within the district, enter into mutual aid agreements, apply for grants, train members, educate the public, purchase and maintain necessary equipment, land, and structures as required for operating a fire district and department, and provide emergency medical assistance.

The proposed Alfalfa Fire District, if formed, will have a permanent rate limit for operating taxes of $1.75 per $1,000 assessed value that will raise an estimated $101,092.00 in operating funds for the District in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

All interested persons may appear and be heard. Upon conclusion of this final hearing, if the Board approves the district formation, the Board will enter its order approving the district and directing the issue of the district formation and tax rate to be placed on the November 5, 2013 ballot for a vote by the electors of the proposed district.

The meeting location is wheelchair accessible. For the deaf or hard of hearing, an interpreter or assistive listening system will be provided with 48 hours notice. Materials in alternate formats may be made available with 48 hours notice. To arrange for these services, please contact Bonnie Baker at 541-388-6572. For hearing impaired, call TDD 541-385-3203.

Notice of Public Hearing Before the Board of County Commissioners of Deschutes County, Oregon

A public hearing regarding the proposed formation of the Alfalfa Fire District will be held on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 10 a.m. in the Board of County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, 1300 NW Wall Street, First Floor, Bend, Oregon.

To view the boundaries of the proposed district, contact the Deschutes County Counsel’s Office at 388-6623.

The proposed formation shall be referred to as the “Alfalfa Fire District”. The purpose of the proposed district, when fully functional, authorized by ORS Chapter 478, is to organize for rural fire protection for property within the district, enter into mutual aid agreements, apply for grants, train members, educate the public, purchase and maintain necessary equipment, land, and structures as required for operating a fire district and department, and provide emergency medical assistance.

The proposed Alfalfa Fire District, if formed, will have a permanent rate limit for operating taxes of $1.75 per $1,000 assessed value that will raise an estimated $101,092.00 in operating funds for the District in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

All interested persons may appear and be heard. Upon conclusion of this initial hearing, the Board will enter its order setting a final hearing. The meeting location is wheelchair accessible. For the deaf or hard of hearing, an interpreter or assistive listening system will be provided with 48 hours notice. Materials in alternate formats may be made available with 48 hours notice. To arrange for these services, please contact Bonnie Baker at 541-388-6572. For hearing impaired, call TDD 541-385-3203.

Alfalfa residents submit petition to form fire district

By Shelby R. King/ The Bulletin –

Alfalfa may be getting its own fire district, and eventually its own fire department. The Deschutes County Commission on Wednesday accepted a petition from Alfalfa residents asking to form an Alfalfa Fire District. The commission set a tentative hearing date in late June.

““This was the culmination of a lot of work on a lot of peoples’ parts in the Alfalfa area,” said Laurie Craighead, an attorney for Deschutes County who presented the order to the commission. “The citizens worked very hard to get all their ducks in a row. “Petitioners submitted 237 signatures from Deschutes County residents, Craighead said. Of those, 137 were confirmed by the County Clerk as registered and eligible voters. ““It’s the most signatures I’ve ever seen on a petition to form a fire district,” Craighead said.

Alfalfa, which is situated partly in Deschutes and partly in Crook County, lies on some of the 175,000 acres of Deschutes County that are unprotected by a specific fire protection agency. Retired County Forester and Project Wildfire Director Joe Stutler in April warned that without fire protection, the town of Alfalfa is at high risk of burning down.

The next step in the process of establishing a fire district is to bring the matter to a formal hearing on June 26. If the district is formed, the matter will next be introduced to Alfalfa-area voters on the November ballot, Craighead said. “It takes board approval for the formation of the district, but, because they’re requesting the formation of a permanent taxing rate, it must go through a vote of the people,” she said. The petition is calling for a tax rate of $1.75 per $1,000 of assessed property value. If the issue makes it onto the November ballot and is approved by voters, Alfalfa residents will start paying the tax in July 2014 and collecting revenue in November 2014.

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From bendbulletin.com – published daily in Bend, Oregon, by Western Communications, Inc. Copyright 2013.

More 911 calls in proposed AFD area than previously thought!

2008-12-911-Calls.smA recent report from the Deschutes County 911 Office showed that there were a total of 296 911 response calls in the proposed AFD area in the last five years. From 2008 to 2012, there were a total of 112 fire-related 911 responses and 184 medical-related 911 responses. That means that there was an average of over 22 fire-related and over 36 average medical 911 responses a year in our proposed district alone. Currently, medical responses are provided by Deschutes County but not fire responses. The chart below shows the breakdown of the type of responses. Less than a third of the fire-related responses were the type that the BLM would respond to, the rest were fortunate that there was any response at all.

Over 240 Petition Signatures Collected!

Thanks to all of you who signed the petitions and to Bob, Carolyn, Margo and Rowan for doing a fantastic job collecting almost 250 signatures. We only needed 100 verifiable signatures for the petition to submit to the County for the ballot process. To all of you who did not get a chance to sign or were not contacted, we apologize, we only had a limited amount of time before the deadline. You will be seeing and hearing more from us as we get closer to November.

On May 10th, we received the Deschutes County Clerk and Assessor’s certification that our petition has enough valid elector and landowner signatures to initiate the formation process. Thus, the petition is now officially submitted to the County governing body. We will be posting hearing notices of the proposed district soon and on this website for everyone to view.

Why does Alfalfa need a Fire District?

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Mayfield-Pond-fire5-2012A concerned committee of local residents is currently planning to form a fire protection district for the Alfalfa area. Here are some questions and answers that are important to you.

Q. Why does Alfalfa need it’s own fire district?
A. In just the last 5 years, there have been at least 7 structural and property fires causing thousands of dollars in damage plus over 230 rangeland fires since 1980 in the Alfalfa area.

Q. What about fire protection services from the City of Bend, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) or the ODF (Oregon Department of Forestry)?
A. We are located too far away from the Bend Fire Station on Hamby Rd. to be serviced by them or annexed into their district. Both the BLM and ODF can only legally take care of wild land fires on public property, not fires on private property and structures.

The reality is that we, as a community, are responsible for our own fire protection.

Q. Why is this issue important now?
A. The State of Oregon and Deschutes County have determined that it is in all residents’ best interest to have fire protection because of how fast and easily fires can spread.

The County and State are both behind us to get our own fire district established but we have to take the first step by voting to form the Alfalfa Fire District (AFD).

One of the scenarios the County is considering for areas like ours that do not have fire protection is using existing resources (like the Bend Fire Department) to fight a fire in our area. They would then bill the property owner for the costs and could put a lien on their property if they did not pay, all of which they legally can do. Those costs could easily be in the thousands of dollars.

Obviously, it is in our best interest that we form our own fire protection district and control our own future. Which is what the County would prefer us do and why they are behind our efforts.

Q. Why should I support a fire district here?
A. The current method of neighbors helping neighbors is too slow, inefficient and rarely results in saving any buildings or structures. It also puts good intentioned citizens and property owners in danger and also at risk of personal injury lawsuits.

Q. I have fire insurance, why should I care?
A. With the increasing number of fires, more insurance companies are raising their premiums, no longer insuring homes and properties without fire protection or no longer offering fire insurance.

Plus, if there is a fire on your property and it causes damage to your neighbors, you are liable for the damage and could likely have your insurance coverage cancelled.

It is much easier to acquire a building permit for new construction if your new home site is in a fire district. Thus, a fire district would make it more likely that you would be able to resell your property and it could provide incentive for new construction.

If you don’t have fire insurance and there is a fire on your property that spreads to your neighbors property, you could be liable for any damages to the property and structures. Their insurance company would likely sue you for the damages and place a lien on your property until they were paid.

Q. I have my own fire fighting equipment or my neighbor has some, why should I support a fire district?
A. Peace of mind for when you’re not home and/or your neighbor’s not home. The Fire Department will be available 24 hours, 7 days a week with the resources and manpower to quickly contain and extinguish a fire before it spreads.

The top 5 causes of house fires are: Cooking, Heating, Electrical, Smoking and Kids playing with fire.

Q. How will we pay for the fire district?
A. There would be a tax assessed and added to your annual property taxes. The proposed permanent tax rate will be $1.75. This compares favorably with other fire districts in central Oregon and should provide a source of stable funding for our future fire district. Plus, as a legal fire district we will be eligible for numerous state and federal grants for supplies, training, equipment and a fire station.

Q. How much will my tax amount be and will I pay more if I own a farm or ranch with a large amount of acreage vs. a house in the subdivision?
A. The taxes you will pay will depend more upon your house and other improvements rather than the amount of acres you own. Each situation varies but in general there is not a significant difference in taxation between a house on 5 acres in Cascade View Estates subdivision and a comparable house on 200 acres of ranch land. The tax on property with a total assessed value of $150,000 would be $262.50 at the proposed rate. (see the Tax Comparisons chart for more information. Click to enlarge.)

AFD-tax-comparison-chart2.1

Q. Will a fire district affect my homeowners insurance?
A. Insurance rates should lessen with a fire district in place—check with your insurance provider to see how it could affect you. Ask them what the difference in your current policy would be if your classification went from an ISO rating of 10 (no protection) to an ISO rating of 9 or 8B (probably as low as we can go in this area due to lack of fire hydrants or large amounts of available water at a fire site.)

Q. Where will the Fire Station be located?
A. The actual site for a fire station will be determined once an assessment is made where the volunteers are located, where the highest risk of fire may be, and response times to those areas in the district. The County has committed to finding us a suitable location.

(For more answers to your questions, go to the “Petition Q&A” page)