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News / Clark County News

New Camas fire station headquarters will cost $26M

City officials may place 25-year bond on Aug. 6 primary ballot

By Kelly Moyer, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: March 23, 2024, 6:10am

CAMAS — The city council is getting closer to asking voters in August to approve $26.3 million in bonds for a new headquarters fire station to be built at 528 N.E. Fourth Ave., the former site of a Bank of America branch.

“We were looking for a place that could handle the call volume we get for Station 41,” Camas-Washougal Fire Chief Cliff Free reminded Camas City Council members at a meeting Monday, explaining that the new station needs to be as close as possible to the current station at 616 N.E. Fourth Ave.

The city purchased the former bank branch for $1.6 million in December 2018 to house the City Hall Annex and staff parking. It could, with a little tweaking and a partial road vacation on Northeast Everett Street between Third and Fourth avenues, meet the fire department’s headquarters needs.

On Monday, Free said plans for the new headquarters station include public spaces along Northeast Fourth Avenue, including a “pocket park,” a community meeting room and an outdoor seating area to accommodate downtown visitors passing by the new fire station.

The plans also call for the purchase of a new fire engine to replace an older vehicle.

The estimated cost of the new station and fire engine is around $26.3 million, Free said Monday.

To pay for the station, officials will first need to gain approval from Camas voters.

Camas Finance Director Cathy Huber Nickerson said Monday that the city plans to use a 25-year bond to fund the fire station.

The bond would require the approval of at least 60 percent of Camas voters and would cost 13 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, which works out to about $112 a year for the average Camas taxpayer, Huber Nickerson said.

The city passed a similar bond to expand and remodel the Camas Public Library in 2005 and finished paying it off in 2020, Huber Nickerson said.

The council will discuss the fire station bond again during its workshop April 1 and is expected to vote on an ordinance April 15, which would allow the city to place the issue before voters on the Aug. 6 primary election ballot.

Free said Monday that, if at least 60 percent of voters approve the bond measure this summer, the city would finish designing the station and “hopefully break ground the following year.”

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