Volunteer Celebrate the Traditional "Push-In" Ceremony. Event accompanied by Representative Charlie Conrad

History of the Row River Fire Response

The Row River Fire Response is dedicated to following ethical principles in everything we do. We put integrity, accountability, and transparency first when making decisions. Our team is focused on treating everyone with respect, dignity, and fairness, no matter who they are or what situation they’re in. We work hard to make sure everyone in our community has fair access to emergency services and resources.Additionally, we are committed to continuous improvement, fostering a culture of learning and adaptation to better serve and protect the residents of the Row River area.

Prioritizing Integrity, Transparency and Accountability2024-03-25T15:37:37-07:00

Prioritizing Integrity, Transparency and Accountability

The Row River Fire Response relies on an independent attorney and professional accounting service to uphold our commitment to ethical values in several key ways:

  1. Impartial Oversight: These experts ensure impartial oversight of our operations, ensuring that we adhere to legal and financial regulations and standards without bias or conflict of interest.
  2. Transparency and Accountability: They help us demonstrate transparency and accountability in our financial and legal affairs, ensuring that our activities are conducted with integrity and that our financial resources are managed responsibly.
  3. Ethical Decision-Making: Independent advisors provide guidance on ethical decision-making processes. They help us identify potential ethical dilemmas and offer recommendations for addressing them in line with our values and principles.
  4. Compliance Assurance: These professionals assist us in ensuring compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and ethical guidelines. Their expertise helps us navigate complex legal and financial landscapes, reducing the risk of inadvertent violations and associated consequences.

Public Hearings.


History of Row River Exploratory Committee2024-04-02T10:53:26-07:00

House lost due to a chimney fire at mile marker 18 in Dorena, Oregon.

In January 2020, a chimney fire destroyed a family’s home at the 18-mile marker, forcing them to leave the valley. (As of March 16, 2024, the property remains vacant.) Concerned about preventing future tragedies, community members united to link the community-based fire trailer group to the 911 system.

Originally named the Row River Exploratory Committee, this group evolved into the Row River Fire Response when they became a non-profit 501c3. They initially focused on connecting neighborhood water trailers to the 911 emergency system.  However, after four years of exploring various options they found the only legal, lasting, and cost-effective solution for fire and medical protection of forming a district.

RR Exploration Committee and 911 Interface for Trailers2024-04-02T10:53:53-07:00

The Row River Fire Response started when a group of concerned citizens formed the Row River Exploratory Committee. They wanted to connect the existing community fire trailer group to the 911 emergency system. But they ran into big problems along the way.

First, there were rules and procedures in place for emergency systems that made it hard to connect our community group. These rules included things like needing licenses, following certain standards, and having legal frameworks that didn’t fit with what we were doing.

Then, there were technical issues. Our community group had trouble fitting into the 911 system because of how it was set up. Making our operations match with the way things were already working was too tricky.

Even if we could have joined the 911 system, it would have cost a lot of money. We’d need to meet all the rules, get all the right equipment, and train everyone properly. That would have been too expensive for our community to handle.

And there were legal concerns, too. Things like insurance coverage, who would be responsible if something went wrong, and how we’d deal with emergencies all made it too hard to join the 911 system.

Finally, there was worry that without official approval, our community group might get in the way of real emergency responders. This could stop emergency vehicles from doing their job properly and lead to fines or lawsuits against us and the community-trailer members.

RR Exploration Committee and Non-Governmental Non-Profit Fire Group2024-04-02T10:54:00-07:00

Initially, the idea of forming a 501(c)(3) fire district seemed like a good plan for the Row River Fire Response initiative. However, we ran into some big challenges:

  1. Government Approval: Getting approval from the government is crucial for a fire district. It gives legal power, ways to get funding, and access to government help. Without this approval, the 501(c)(3) fire district wouldn’t have the authority or support needed to work well and do its job of providing important fire services to the community.
  2. Insurance Support: Insurance companies didn’t support our plan much. If we didn’t become an approved fire district, we wouldn’t get the protection and coverage we needed.
  3. Mutual Aid: A 501(c)(3) fire district might have trouble making mutual aid agreements with other fire districts or emergency groups nearby. These agreements let places share resources and help each other during emergencies. Without government approval, getting these agreements would have been hard, making it tough to respond well to emergencies.
  4. Equipment and Training Costs: Switching to a 501(c)(3) fire district would have cost a lot for buying equipment and running training programs. Firefighting gear like trucks and hoses is really expensive. Plus, training volunteer firefighters and staff to meet professional standards needs a lot of time and money. Without government help, paying for all this would have been a big financial problem for the organization.
Row River Fire Response 501c3 Non-Profit Formation2024-04-02T10:54:28-07:00

Aftermath of trailer fire at LaSells Stewart Park at Wildwood Falls.

In September 2020, there was a big RV fire near forested areas, and around the same time, the Holiday Farm Fire was burning too. This fire became one of Oregon’s biggest ever and needed a lot of resources. In Dorena, our community’s fire trailers helped put out the fire.

Around this time, a group had already talked with many agencies about joining the 911 system and starting a nonprofit fire group. But our small Lane County community couldn’t make it happen alone. They knew they needed a permanent solution but saw it was impossible without a proper organization.

As just a community group, they could only ask for help with limited resources. But if they became a 501(c)(3) organization, they could make real changes to help everyone in the community. Even if it started small, like getting a radio system for the community, they were determined to do it.

It took months to decide, but once they did, they hired a non-profit attorney group to make the Row River Fire Response happen.

Row River Fire Response and the 2024 Vote2024-04-02T10:54:36-07:00

The River Fire Response has been working hard to get the proposed fire district on the ballot for the May 2024 elections. This progress happened just one year after the SLCFR board signed a 2-year partnership contract.

Thanks to support from SLCFR, other fire districts, agencies, and private organizations, we’ve trained twenty firefighters in different types of firefighting and medical response. We’ve also found three temporary stations and got four fire trucks, water tenders, and extra vehicles for brush fires.

We’re still raising money for equipment and safety gear, but we’re also setting up fire stations and placing equipment to make the valley safer. Lowering our ISO ratings from 10 to 8 or below will help homeowners get cheaper insurance. (ISO MAP PDF) We hope this will make our community safer and save people money on insurance.

Once the fire district is approved, a new board will run it. The main job of the Row River Fire Response will still be raising money to make sure the valley has good fire and medical help.



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