The poll was undertaken on behalf of the districts by Nelson Research and the Public Affairs Council. Pollsters asked a series of questions to determine how citizens rate the operation and performance of local fire and ambulance services (86% said Pretty Good or Excellent), do they believe they receive a good value for what they pay in property taxes for fire and ambulance services (78% said Yes), and their opinion on a potential merger of the two districts (77% Favor a merger). When asked if the Ambulance District should consider a private, for-profit, agency to provide ambulances services 79% of those polled disagreed. Interestingly, almost half of the respondents thought the two districts were already combined. Not surprised was WLFEA Operations Chief Matt House who said “We work every day on supporting each other on emergency scenes and our Paramedics and Firefighters know they can rely on each other. I think the public sees us working as one team every time we are on a call”.
The two local emergency response organizations have been discussing merging into a new district for many years and in 2019 took the first steps towards this goal by combining administrative offices into the Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority (WLFEA). According to SVFR Board Member and WLFEA Chairperson Jim Palisi “The high level of support in the community for our employees and volunteers wasn’t surprising but the overwhelming support for a merger of the two Districts was nice to see. I absolutely think a complete merger is the right path to providing superior emergency services and remain cost-effective”.
Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue provides an all-hazards emergency response to 14,000 people over 98 square miles. Western Lane Ambulance District provides emergency medical service (EMS) to 17,500 people over 564 square miles. Together, our agencies include full-time, part-time and volunteer personnel that respond to an average of 3,800 calls per year. On October 1, 2019 the administrative offices of Siuslaw Valley Fire/Rescue and Western Lane Ambulance District combined to form Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority.
Michael R Schick, EFO, PhD
Fire & EMS Chief
Western Lane Fire and