High Point site

Site under consideration for location of a new firehouse in Gearhart.

Not this November, Mayor Matt Brown told members of the audience at the Wednesday, Aug. 7 meeting of Gearhart City Council.

And as the Aug. 17 deadline to place a bond measure neared, the timeline for a vote on a new firehouse location and building plan got bumped till next year. “We’ve only got about a 10-day time frame if we want to put that on the November ballot, and we still have a lot of work to do.”

But if the date is unclear, officials continue to pursue negotiations to acquire a property at 1376 North Marion, considered the best location to prepare for an “L-1” or large tsunami, which encompasses 95% of the possible flood scenarios.

Since the early 2000s Gearhart firefighters have asked the city to replace the current structure, a building constructed in 1958 considered unsafe in the event of an earthquake or tsunami. A 2006 bond measure for a new public safety building failed at the polls.

In 2018, after considering nine locations, the fire station committee recommended three concepts and locations to the public to help guide the decision-making process.

In April, a city survey showed 82% of respondents support a new firehouse, and 52% preferred the High Point location, over the current firehouse location and the Gearhart Park site. The park was withdrawn from consideration in May due to the survey results.

With an elevation of between 62 feet and 65 feet at the building site, cost is estimated at between $6 million and $9 million. The cost per $1,000 of home value would be $0.66-$0.99. A $400,000 home would be assessed $264-$396 per year if a bond were to pass.

Negotiations with the property owners and with the Pacific Palisades Homeowners Association, which owns an easement necessary for access, are ongoing, Mayor Matt Brown said. “No price has been presented, but talks are continuing.”

Potential private donors are also being sought. “We will continue to reach out to folks who will potentially fund the fire station,” Brown said.

Geotechnical studies and soil reports at the site are in, City Administrator Chad Sweet added. “This is a good site. It has all the attributes we need.”

Firehouse committee members are seeking state and federal grants, Brown said, however, many of those are contingent on primary funding first before grants can kick in. “We’re kind of in a holding pattern with that,” Brown said.

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