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Deschutes County commissioners send Sunriver Public Safety Building levy to May ballot

Sunriver Service District

Current facilities fall short in several ways facility tours, community forums planned

SUNRIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County commissioners last week unanimously approved a resolution sending to the May 17 primary ballot a Sunriver Service District 10-year capital improvement local option levy to fund the remodel and expansion of the Sunriver Public Safety Building.

Here's a news release issued Sunday by the Sunriver Service District, providing details of the reasons for the project and its funding sources:

The service district submitted a formal request earlier this year to commissioners for financial support. Specifically, the request was to secure funding from the Transient Room Tax fund for the critical public safety infrastructure project. The board voted unanimously to support almost half the cost of the project, for a total of $8 million to be disbursed over three years; $4 million in fiscal year 2022/23 and $2 million in the next two fiscal years.

The estimated cost to remodel the current fire station into a combined police and fire Public Safety Building is $18 million. The district will contribute $3 million from their reserves. This leaves a funding gap of potentially $7 million. 

 The service district is sending a ballot measure to Sunriver property owners in May asking to approve a 10-year capital improvement levy for the remaining balance. A low-interest, tax-exempt loan will be pursued to service the debt over the 10 years of the levy.

The financial impact to owners for this important public safety improvement is $0.47 per $1,000 of tax assessed value. For a property owner in Sunriver, with a tax assessed property value of $400,000, this would be an additional $188 per year for the next 10 years.

The current Sunriver Police and Fire facilities do not meet code requirements for an “essential facility.” An essential facility is required by building code to withstand much higher levels of destructive forces such as seismic, wind, and snow loads. In addition, backup power generation is required, if power is disrupted. The fire department does not have sufficient backup generator capability and the police department has no back-up generator.

The Fire apparatus bay has compromised roof trusses from previous extreme snow loads. There is also a lack of gender-specific accommodations for female firefighters.

Storage for turnouts (firefighting protective uniforms) is inadequate. The turnouts are susceptible to damage caused by UV light and exhaust, which requires the firefighters to keep their gear in bags to prevent this damage, impacting response time. The self-contained breathing apparatus compressor, which fills the air tanks worn by firefighters, is not housed in a clean room, which is important for the integrity of equipment.

The police department is part of the Sunriver Owners Association’s (SROA) administrative office building and lacks appropriate security throughout. It has no space for victim/suspect interviews; they are currently held in the employee breakroom. The department does not have a secure suspect holding room, space for an intoxilyzer, nor an area or booking/fingerprinting. Therefore, officers are out of service transporting suspects to the Deschutes County jail in Bend or the substation in La Pine for booking. There is not an adequate area for evidence processing and storage.

 Both departments lack adequate decontamination areas. The fire department currently hoses firefighters off in the apparatus bays before going to the living quarters. Industry standards are to separate any hazardous materials and blood borne pathogens from the living quarters.

The police department has zero decontamination or shower facilities. During the course of their duties, staff from both departments are exposed to carcinogens, blood and body fluids, mud, snow, dirt and rain without the ability to properly decontaminate.

The Sunriver Service District is offering upcoming tours and forums to show the community the various deficiencies, present the latest information, and answer any questions.

Upcoming Events:

Fire and Police Facility Tours

The Sunriver Fire and Police chiefs will personally lead tours of their current facilities and answer questions about why an integrated Public Safety Building is needed.

Feb. 25, March 9, 25 and 30

1 - 2 p.m.

Tours start at the Sunriver Police Station

Sign up here: www.sunriversd.org/public-safety-bldg          

Masks required.

Sunriver Community Forums

March 25, April 29 and May 10

4:30 - 6 p.m.

Dillon Hall at the SHARC

Everyone is welcome, masks required

A presentation and videos of preliminary plans, financial update and Q&A.

Come learn about the deficiencies of the current facilities and why a task force of Sunriver owners has recommended moving forward with a combined Public Safety Building.

The District encourages community input to ensure this project is a successful collaboration of all Sunriver stakeholders. Information and progress about the Public Safety Building can be found at www.sunriversd.org. For more information, email ssdadmin@sunriversd.org or call 541-593-8622.

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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