The Baker Rural Fire Protection District is hoping to buy a building and property in the Elkhorn View Industrial Park in northwest Baker City to serve as the district’s primary fire station.
The district, which provides fire protection to parts of Baker Valley, is asking Baker County Commissioners to guarantee a loan the district is pursuing.
The district is also seeking financial help from Baker City, including approximately $100,000 for the down payment, or a lease arrangement.
Councilors considered the proposal during their July 13 meeting. They supported the project but didn’t commit any money. City Manager Jonathan Cannon said he was looking into possible options for the money, including COVID-19 federal aid.
County commissioners reviewed the district’s proposal during their Wednesday, July 21 meeting, and they approved moving forward with the idea but without any commitment from the county.
The county’s attorney will review the terms proposed by the district.
According to the written outline that Rob Gaslin supplied to commissioners on behalf of the district, the primary fire station, on Pocahontas Road between West Campbell Loop and Washington Gulch Road, is on leased property. The lease ends in five years “and there are significant obstacles to renewing,” according to the outline.
District officials recently started searching for a new location, with the expectation that the process would take three to five years, and that building a new fire station would cost about $2.2 million, according to the outline.
The 23rd Street property, which includes a 7,500-square-foot building constructed in 2008, is an attractive option because it’s much less expensive than what the district was expecting to spend for a new fire station.
The outline the district gave to county commissioners includes a listing from Sunfire Real Estate in Baker City putting the price for the property at $720,000.
“The District is attempting to secure funding for this project through multiple avenues including grants, gifts, partnerships and debt,” according to the outline. “The District is at the early stages of this process, but it is expected that there will be a need to act very quickly to make this happen.”
The district is asking property owners within the district for donations to help with a down payment.
The 23rd Street property, which is south of Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative’s headquarters, is owned by Springer Development LLC of Walla Walla, Washington, a real estate company. Banner Bank is listed as a member of the corporation, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Corporation Division.
The district is working with four financing companies, and it estimates it will need to borrow between $350,000 and $620,000 to acquire the 23rd Street building.