July 14th, 2010 | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, City Hall

Portland Fire Bond: Saltzman Recommends Big Changes

NoPo Fire 4

Commissioner Dan Saltzman is proposing significant changes to Commissioner Randy Leonard's fire bond proposal.

Leonard's proposal [PDF] would ask Portland voters in November to approve $72 million for fire and emergency response vehicles, a fire station and emergency response center, and a public safety emergency radio system.

City Council is scheduled to discuss the possible fire bond Thursday at 3:30 pm. But Saltzman introduced his proposed amendments [PDF] yesterday in a memo to fellow commissioners and the mayor.

Two of Saltzman's requests would mark significant changes for both the delivery of emergency services in Portland and the use of taxpayer money.

The first of those changes calls for buying four rapid response vehicles. The idea would be similar to one in Washington County, where Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue has started dispatching paramedics to medical calls in cars rather than send fire engines.

The second significant change calls for returning unused money from the bond to taxpayers. That idea got its start in the debate that erupted earlier this year when "contract savings" in the Bureau of Environmental Services were redirected to bioswales and bike boulevards.

Saltzman's final two proposals call for a five-person citizens group to oversee the use of bond money, and for green standards in any new construction paid for by the bond.

Photo of Portland firefighters practicing their skills on an unoccupied home
 
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