The residents of the rural community of Depoe Bay on the Oregon coast are no strangers to earthquakes. Most of the tremors they experience are small, but in the event of a major quake, they would depend on their local emergency responders for assistance. The 40-year-old, three-story Depoe Bay fire station, however, was outdated, not accessible for people with disabilities, and no longer met the latest standards in seismic safety.
Updating the building would be a significant undertaking, especially for this small, rural district. At the same time, they also had to manage the cost of replacing their vehicles more frequently than departments in other areas of the state due to the corrosion caused by the salt-ladened ocean spray.
With the help of a $1.8 million loan and a $74,900 grant provided by USDA Rural Development through its Community Facilities Program, as well as $831,318 from the state’s Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program, the Depoe Bay Rural Fire Protection District was able to fully renovate Fire Station 2300.
This essential Depoe Bay facility is now seismically sound and compliant with the Americans with Disability Act standards. During those critical repairs, the rest of the building was also updated. The kitchen, dining room, day room, restrooms, and showers were remodeled. An elevator was installed. The heating, air conditioning, and sprinkler systems were replaced. The bays were widened to accommodate modern, larger vehicles, and the remaining space was converted into a weight room. In addition, five new bunk rooms were constructed, and the conference room was updated.
“These improvements will last us for the next 30 years or more,” said Fire Chief Bill Johnson.
The fire district also received a $40,500 grant from USDA to purchase and equip a new command vehicle, replacing a truck that was past its useful life and had been deemed no longer safe to operate.
The Depoe Bay Rural Fire Protection District now has the modern facilities and equipment it needs to continue serving this rural service area of 4,683 people and to provide a safe base of operations in the event of an earthquake.