The Scappoose Fire Department began in 1915. It consisted of citizens passing gunnysacks and buckets in a "bucket brigade". The first fire alarm was purchased in 1926 for $365.14 and the fire service used a hand-drawn cart equipped with a hose reel. The City purchased its first fire truck in 1941.
After many years of service to the joint communities of the City and the District, discussion of consolidation of the two agencies went to a vote on June 5, 1979. Only 188 of the City's 1550 registered voters turned out to vote. The vote was 120 yes for consolidation and 68 against. The City authorized the Mayor to sign an agreement between the two agencies pending legal review.
On January 1, 1980, the City of Scappoose Fire Department and the Scappoose Rural Fire Protection District merged to become known as the Scappoose Rural Fire Protection District.
The Scappoose Rural Fire Protection District operates as a public corporation in the State of Oregon. The fire district consists of a 65 square mile fire protection area, and 100 square mile ambulance service area.
The City of Scappoose and the unincorporated areas of Warren, Chapman and Holbrook as well as 12 miles along the Multnomah Channel, which has a large residential river front community, make up the service area served by the district. The Fire District services approximately 12,000 residents. The area is served by three stations staffed by 35 volunteers, 5 office/management staff and 9 career fire/medical personnel.
The Fire District is a full service emergency provider (fire suppression, rescue, transport ambulance). In 2009, the Scappoose Rural Fire District was called to 1477 alarms. An elected five-member board of directors governs the fire district.
The governing body is given certain powers and authority by the laws of the state. Each member of the governing body is a public official who are charged to act in the best interests of the public they represent. The members are accountable to the public through federal, state, and local laws.
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