SANTA CLARA, Ore. (KMTR) -- More than half a million dollars worth of work is now underway at one of Santa Clara's two fire stations, all to make sure it would survive a major earthquake.
The Santa Clara Fire Department got a $570,000 grant from Oregon's office of Emergency Management back in 2011. After a year of design, retrofit work is now underway on the department’s “Fire Station 1” along River Road.
Crews are working the outside of the building now, soon they'll cut out weak cement around the building's load bearing footings in the ground and pour new, stronger concrete to help stabilize the building.
Contractors will also build a steel support structure inside the current building. Without the work, the building would probably collapse in a quake, trapping all of the department's fire gear.
“Probably the nicest thing out of the whole thing, is the fact that it was a competitive grant we were able to do well with and none of the taxpayers will have to pay any money for it, we got it through the Oregon State Seismic Rehabilitation program and we won't have to pay any of it back, so its definitely a win-win for us,” says Chief Randy Wood of the Santa Clara Fire Department.
Contractors are installing a new roof on the department right now, also replacing the walls. and getting rid of asbestos, which was used when the building went up in 1961.
Santa Clara Fire can't do any additions that would impact the outside of the building because of state mandated historical preservation guidelines.
Santa Clara Fire only has three paid staff members. 40 others are volunteer. Without the grant, the project probably wouldn’t be possible. Chief Wood says the $570,000 for the project is about four years of tax district funding.