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Jan. 28, 2023

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DNR buys former Cowlitz 2 station near Longview

State plans to use site to aid in fighting wildland fires

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LONGVIEW — A former Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue fire station has been sold to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to help the state fight wildland fires.

The Board of Natural Resources voted Tuesday morning to finalize the purchase of the former Columbia Heights Station on Nevada Drive, just outside of the Longview city limits, from Cowlitz 2 for $995,000.

The station will serve as a base for wildland firefighting equipment and staff to serve Cowlitz County and potentially other parts of Southwest Washington. DNR spokesman Kenny Ocker said the building will relieve overcrowding at the regional headquarters in Castle Rock and replace the leased site in Kalama that houses equipment.

The building may also hold offices for forestry regulation and other duties of the Department of Natural Resources.

The Legislature appropriated the funding to DNR to purchase the station in April 2021. Staff turnovers with the department delayed the final decision on the sale until this month.

James Graham of Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue said the department moved its firefighters out of the station in 2020 after new stations were built in higher-demand areas of their district like Lexington and Baker’s Corner. The former Columbia Heights station was being used for storage and EMS training when Cowlitz 2 was first approached by the state department about the sale.

“It’s a little sad to see it get handed over but at the same time, I’m excited about the future of the facility getting better use with another agency,” Graham said.

Ocker said that some light renovations will be made but that the fire equipment should be moved into the building early next year.

The money from the sale will be put into developing a new Cowlitz 2 fire station on Coweeman Drive in Kelso that will serve the south end of the fire district.

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