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Photo by Garth Guibord
Fire District proposes Dorman property as site for new station posted on 03/01/2023

The future of the Dorman Center property in Welches has remained undecided since the failure of the Hoodland Park District Ballot Measure in June 2022. Scotch Broom and other invasive species have begun to stake their claim on the property in the meantime, as Clackamas County weighs options for the site's use.


The Hoodland Fire District (HFD) presented a proposal to the county in December requesting the two parcels of land that comprise the Dorman Center as the site for a new fire station.

HFD’s initial proposal requested that the county deed the parcels to the fire district in the same manner that the county had intended to donate the land for the Hoodland Community Park District.

The Clackamas Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) responded to the proposal in early February with a counteroffer. The counteroffer indicated the county will present a lease-to-own or option-to-buy offer to HFD before the district’s public board of directors meeting on Tuesday, March 14.

“We don’t know what the offer is going to be. We are hoping the BoCC will donate the property to another government entity (similar to the park district),” said Scott Kline, HFD Division Chief and Fire Marshal.

Kline added that the county has also received an offer to buy the property from a private party. The parcels are currently zoned as an Open Space Management (OSM) district. This zoning specifies that the property must be used for non-commercial purposes. However, the property can be purchased and used for parking or loading area, as utility facilities and other conditional uses. A fire station is allowed as a conditional use for the property.

HFD’s current aging facilities are a hodgepodge of additions that stretch back to 1966, do not meet current seismic structural requirements and have 24/7 staff sleeping in a jobsite shack separate from the main facilities, causing an impact on emergency response times.

“(24/7) staff currently has to go through three secured doors before they can get to the emergency response apparatus,” Kline said, describing how the current facilities size constraints limit the district’s ability to serve the mountain communities.

HFD’s proposal stipulates that the district will maintain the community garden currently on-site and provide 12 park and ride spaces for the Mountain Express shuttle. The proposed terms state that HFD will secure funding for a new station within five years and begin construction within ten years.

The new station would also include a community meeting room that could be secured from the rest of the station to facilitate community use. The current station’s public meeting space cannot be secured from the rest of the station and requires additional staff to be present whenever there is community use to assure security and adequate emergency response.

Kline added that if the district receives the property HFD will begin maintaining the grounds. The property will be cleared of invasive species such as scotch broom and used to showcase Firewise practices for maintaining wildfire resilient properties. The public gardens will also be maintained for community use.

“If people want to weigh in on the use of the site, they can write the county commissioners, or attend the BoCC meetings either virtually or in person to express their opinion on the best use of the site,” Kline said.

Kimberly Webb, Public Information Officer for Clackamas County, noted that due to the BoCC being on recess that no comment could be made at the time of publishing.

She added that the BoCC typically discusses such arrangements during executive session but will need to vote on any agreement at a public meeting and that no such meeting is currently scheduled.

The public is invited to attend the HFD board of directors meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at the main station 69634 Hwy. 26 in Welches. The BoCC’s counterproposal will be discussed at the meeting.

The BoCC typcially holds meetings at 10 a.m. on Thursdays at 2051 Kaen Road in Oregon City, but will also hold evening meetings once a month at 6 p.m. on Thursdays, typcially the second Thursday of the month.

Anyone wishing to provide comments to the BoCC during a business meeting can register online via Zoom when attending online or fill out a blue card at the door when attending in person.

For more information on the BoCC, including weekly schedules and meeting agendas, visit https://www.clackamas.us/bcc. For more information on the HFD, visit https://www.hoodlandfire.us/.

By Ben Simpson/MT




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