Fire District board split on upgrade to Station 35
by Al Hooper, special to the Woodinville Weekly
The Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District Board of Commissioners voted to table the issue of proposed upgrades to Station 35 after failing to reconcile a $234,000 difference of opinion at their meeting Apr. 15. Station 35 is located at 17825 Avondale Road NE, behind the Cottage Lake Safeway.
Battalion Chief Cliff Griffin's committee recommended the commissioners approve a bid of $484,000, which would include modifications inside the current building and six new dorm rooms plus Option I, adding a new vehicle bay, a required decontamination room, one bathroom, and a mezzanine for storage space. Two motions were made on the recommendation and both failed with a 2-2 vote, with Commissioner Ben May absent.
Commissioner Dave Callon moved to approve $250,670 for the base bid only, saying that he felt this was all that was needed to meet the community's needs. Commissioner Don Leggett seconded Callon's motion and voted with him in favor of the recommendation to approve the base bid only.
Board Chair Sue Dickson and Commissioner Jim O'Dell voted against, maintaining that the needs of the future were not being addressed adequately. O'Dell then moved to accept the $484,000 bid recommended by Griffin's committee for the base project and Option I. Dickson seconded. O'Dell and Dickson voted for the motion, and Callon and Leggett voted against, stating that it was "too expensive for the community's needs".
Testimony from firefighter, Chief, resident
Before the votes, a firefighter assigned to Station 35 described the conditions at the station, testifying that crew members are currently sleeping on the floor; there is little or no privacy for the showers; an office space designed for only one person currently serves four; and there is no storage space left.
Chief Jim Davis told the board that the architectural firm had been very thorough in its research and planning, taking into account the Comprehensive Plan and other sources.
Kevin Coughlin, a local resident who recently needed the services of Station 35, said he didn't want an "under-rested firefighter" to battle a blaze at his home. He said the area had already grown beyond the capacity and capability of the current staff and equipment levels at the station.
Coughlin also told the commissioners that the Bond Issue had been clearly worded and that the voters had approved the levy of $3.9 million so the community's needs would be met for the next 10 to 15 years.
The board will address the issue again at their May 6 meeting. The board meets regularly on the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the District Headquarters, 19900 144th Ave N.E., Woodinville (483-2131).