10/13/2022 Minutes

Row River Valley Fire Response   or Row River Fire Response

      (Help decide a new name for this group!) Send in your vote or suggestion!

Attendance at Dorena School: Bec, Jennifer, John, Scott, Katherine, Reta, and Walt (on line)

Zoom Meeting with Jordan Pollack

  • 30 yrs of fire fighter experience
  • Business helps small communities develop fire abatement system that fits needs

Walt and committee recap of our group and goals

  • Location – 25 miles along a long narrow river valley
  • Nearest fire protection from South Lane Fire District with a 30+ minute wait time
  • Surrounded by private, state and national timberland
  • Always fire danger but last 5 years more home involved fires
  • 4 years ago 4 homes burned to ground – from wildfire
  • Last year another home burned – chimney – spread stopped by fire trailers
  • Lots of arson fires of abandoned autos – spread stopped by fire trailers
  • McKenzie Valley – too much like our unprotected area – 
  • Perceived problems:
  • No 911 without an individual contract with SLFD
  • 30+ minute delay for fire help and then only with direct contract with SLFD
  • 25 fire trailers around the valley – so far kept fires under control
  • No training
  • No Personal Protection Equipment
  • No viable way to dispatch trailers 
  • no means of communication in the field
  • No liability insurance
  • No guarantee if any or how many will show up
  • Can’t call 911 must use an informal phone tree 
  • No training or skills in interior house fire fighting


  • Experience in creating special districts, volunteer brigades
  • All Special Districts started as volunteer
  • Decatur Islands in San Juan – 3 fire trailers but have connection to 911 (pagers)
  • $60 hour but will tailor to needs
  • Trainings
    • FireWise -teach community volunteers to assess properties & guide homeowners
    • Defensible homes – Hardening Structures – placing Sprinklers
    • Determining well/pump capacity for sprinklers
    • Exterior fire fighting with garden hoses and trailers
    • Firefighter safety #1 priority


  • Sit down with South Lane Fire District – Willing to annex?
  • Everyone must vote and agree
  • Get a 501c3
  • Check with Douglas County Fire Protection regarding volunteer brigades
  • Public Education – teach people not to have a fire
  • Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, safe practices
  • Create  2 teams: prevention educators and responders

Walt: Cost?

  • Jordan will provide a list of training proposals and costs and equipment costs.

Scott: Fire Trailers need to be inspected if under a 501c3?

  • Jordan: not as important under nonprofit but work toward

Group Discussion:

  • Walt: All 3 of Jordan’s references felt he is worth more than he costs. 
  •   We could get specific training through his group and others for free from other places.
  • John:  Jordan talked about wildland fires. That is a place for us to start our focus but not the end. We must also look at other kinds of fires in the future. 
  • Scott: We need to sell the concept that initial quick response to wildland fire is essential to keeping the fire from spreading to homes.
  • But we must address protecting property and houses to get the community to vote in favor.
  • Goal #1 = training and insurance
  • Walt: Interior firefighting takes 6 people to send 2 into the fire + lots of training. Most small fire districts do not do interior fires. With an agreement with SLFD, maybe they could be the ones to do that.
  • Our focus would be on exterior – preventative.
  • Scott: Needs to be sold as “slow down the fire until SLFD gets here” and not our job to save it all.
  • Walt: Lorraine was volunteer – 501c3 then became special district. They had a pager system agreement with 911 (Loraine got the dispatch which automatically went to SLFD, too) They also had radios.
  • Katherine: “Baby steps” will be best. We can establish some trust and inclusion for the community to see what we can do to help each other and the value of becoming a full district later.
  • Walt: We need training and communication equipment.
  • John: The community needs to understand that this is only a beginning to provide some protection and fire mitigation now. The purpose is to continue pursuing the creation of a special district or annex which requires a vote. 

Bec: Fund Raiser at School – Fire Fair – 

  • share information about this group 
  • invite other groups with information helpful for fire safety
  • Raffle tickets/ dinner/ etc. 
  • After we apply for nonprofit status

Reta: We need to make a decision about the 501c3

  • Scott: There are cheaper ways 
  • Jennifer: having a lawyer do it would help in public confidence
  • Katherine: participated in creating one – never again! The trainings from the Nonprofit Law group would be an asset..
  • Walt: Willing to loan $2500 to get started. We need to pay 1/2 before they start and rest in installments.
  • Reta: Willing to loan $1000 

Vote called:   Pay Center for NonProfit Law to form a 501c3 organization using a loan from Walt, Reta and other donors to be repaid at a later date by the 501c3;

  • All 7 in favor

Action:          Walt will contact the Center for Nonprofit Law and get it started.

Establish a Board:  8 Voting board members

  • Walt Bernard
  • Scott Byler
  • Jennifer Ferraez
  • John Kirk
  • Katherine Reinecke
  • Reta Cochrane
  • Kathleen Istudor
  • Bec McCoy

Name Suggestions:                           Row River Valley Fire Response

Later Kris (Walt’s wife) suggested      Row River Fire Response

Email voting: 

  • Row River Fire Response:                    Walt, Jennifer, Kathleen, Reta
  • Row River Valley Fire Response:

Webpage:        RowRiverValley.com            

All committee minutes are there.

The web page could be developed to include Water Board and other groups.

Next regular meeting: 5:30,  November 11, 2022      at Katherine and Kirk Reinecke home