Iconic Fire Facilities Unveiled in Bend & Tumalo

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(Left) Pilot Butte Station #306 | Photo courtesy of Griffin Construction LLC
(Right) Tumalo Fire State #302 | Photo by Chris Murray Productions)

The Bend community has warmly welcomed an instantly iconic new fire station near Pilot Butte that pays homage to a century-long history, while also reducing response times for vital emergency services. At the same time, Tumalo has unveiled a similar facility, as part of a flagship $7.8 million two-pronged project.

The new 10,000 sq. ft. Bend project, known officially as Pilot Butte Station #306, has been constructed just south of the City’s Police Department headquarters, off Greenwood and 15th, and features the same grand brick exterior and distinctive big red carriage-style doors as the original historic downtown firehall that was built in 1919 and shuttered some 20 years ago.

The Tumalo building, at 8,636 sq. ft., adjoins the previous 70’s vintage station, which will now be used for storage including antique tenders and protective equipment, and features some lower brick facade, but an overall more contemporary design in keeping with some of the more modern neighboring buildings in the area.

Both buildings came in at around $3.9 million, with relatively higher costs per sq. ft. for the Tumalo project due to stringent seismic requirements that saw some 100 stabilizing pilings driven 50 ft. down through a pumice subsurface into underlying bedrock.

Classified as type 4 seismic “critical facilities,” they are both able to withstand current code forces and have back-up generators, as well as being highly energy efficient.

The facilities were designed by Portland’s Soderstom Architects and built by Prineville-based Griffin Construction, which won the contract through a bid process and acted as General Contractor. Each is two-story with dorm rooms that can accommodate double bunks, bathrooms, showers, large kitchen, laundry rooms, offices, day and training rooms, EMS room and two drive-through bays to hold multiple pieces of equipment.

Pilot Butte station has an additional two apparatus bays spanning 1,500 sq. ft. that can be put to alternative uses but are currently being rented to Bend Police Department for training exercises until needed for future expansion potential.

A recent official opening for the Pilot Butte station featured Bend Fire Pipes and Drums and a ceremonial “passing of the key” as local residents got to tour a facility evocative of the original Minnesota Avenue Firehouse that opened in 1920, and which is now home to the Brickhouse Restaurant and downtown condos.

Of note is that all of the fire stations in the area are owned by the rural fire district (Deschutes County Rural Fire Protection District No. 2) and leased back on a long-term basis to Bend Fire and Rescue Department, which equips and staffs the facilities, as part of a unique cooperative “Fire Fund” agreement reached in the mid-1990s. The only one owned by the city is the departmental administrative base.

The county fire district got the latest construction initiative underway initially with a $1.5 million contribution from its operating budget, above and beyond the money borrowed to build the stations, and facilitated a 25-year loan to cover the cost of the new facilities, which it will repay from operational resources, without a tax increase being necessary.

County Rural Fire District No. 2 Executive Director Gary Marshall said, “As far as Bend is concerned, the fire departments partnered with the city’s planning department to identify where the newest fire station should be built.

“Based on population growth and housing trends, the decision was made to build the station near Pilot Butte, where more homes, apartments and businesses have opened in recent years. Computer models also showed that through this strategic location, overall response times could be reduced by some 30 seconds, which is huge, especially for the central city area.

“Pilot Butte will be primarily EMS-oriented but with full fire apparatus response capability and is already looking like it will be the busiest station.”

Marshall sees both the Pilot Butte and Tumalo stations as important investments for the community, demonstrating a foresight to construct buildings “that should still be standing in another 100 years.”

He commented, “With its resemblance to the old fire station, while incorporating all the latest technology, we had an opportunity with Pilot Butte 306 to honor the original firehouse. There’s a lot of brick and kind of that old-fashioned feel to it.

“The downtown firehouse occupied by the first Bend Volunteer Fire Department had a rich history and we wanted something special to replicate that, and give the community and current fire department something to be proud of — people have certainly stopped by and remarked on its distinctive character.”

The masonry detailing features true jack arches over the windows and larger radiused arches over the bay doors, while antique lighting fixtures internally and tall double-hung windows similarly reflect early 1900’s architecture, while the overhead doors have been designed to reference carriage doors of the same period.

Marshall said the new Bend station is predominantly EMS-oriented, but with full fire apparatus response capability with computer models having shown that the location siting will help the fire department provide faster medical response to the Bend central city area. The Tumalo station also features solar panels that will offset utility costs for both new facilities.

Strategically, the tendency has been to locate close to city limits so that efficiencies can be derived “looking inward and outward” toward the more congested metropolitan area of close to 100,000 as well as a rural district covering some 140 miles beyond the city limits.

Marshall added, “We think these new stations will be appreciated as treasured community landmarks and are testament to previous fire department and city leaders’ vision and an example of good government and cooperative collaboration towards a common cause.”

Deschutes County RFPD No. 2
Stations 302 & 306

Tumalo Station 302 • 64725 Cook Ave. • Bend, OR 97703

Pilot Butte Station 306 • 555 NE 15th St. • Bend OR 97701

Owner: Deschutes County RFPD #2

General Contractor: Griffin Construction LLC

Project Cost: $8.5 Million

Sitework Start: September, 2018

Completion: December, 2019

Square Footage: Pilot Butte: 9,751 sq. ft., Tumalo: 7,287 sq. ft.

Amenities: Apparatus bays, living quarters, training rooms

Project Manager: Samuel Griffin, Chad Young

Supervisor: Matt Brunson, Aaron Sibila

Architect: Soderstrom Architects

Structural Engineer: Lewis & Van Vleet

Civil Engineer: David Evans and Associates

Mechanical Engineer: Sazan Group

Landscaping: Otten Landscape Architects

Subcontractors and Suppliers:

Tomco Electric, A&E Masonry, Collins and Sons, Inland Foundation Specialties, Central Oregon Heating, Eagle Roofing, Thomas Kay Flooring, Central Oregon Garage Door, Alpine Glass, Bell Hardware, Mountain Sky Landscaping, J&R Fire, Vista Plumbing, Sunlight Solar, Johnson Brothers Appliances, OTIS Elevators, Burkhardt Painting, CCI Bend, Knife River, LaRusso, Precision Rebar, SI Contracting, Van Nevel Concrete, CR Fabrication, RedBuilt, The Miller Lumber Company, Visions Unlimited, Insulation Contractors, Pavement Protectors, High Desert Paving, SEALTECH, Custom Tint, Parr Windows and Doors, Central Oregon Wallcoverings, PoleTech, Vaughn’s Services, RC Building Specialties, WH Cress, Sign Wizards, Diversions, Nite Owl Janitorial

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Simon Mather CBN Feature Writer

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