Josephine County proposed new fire district met with concerns

MEDFORD, Ore. – Josephine County officials held a town hall meeting to discuss adding a new fire district, funded by property taxes.

This meeting comes after one of two private owned fire districts serving the area closed its doors.

That left Rural Metro Fire to be the sole fire suppression providers in much of the county.

Rural Metro was not formally invited to the meeting last night at North Valley High School, but their operations chief, Austin Prince was able to attend.

He told me there was a lot covered, like what goes into planning and staffing a new fire district as well as debating whether it was needed or not.

One thing the county said they want to avoid is anything resembling a monopoly with Rural Metro Fire being the only current provider.

Voters have rejected the creation of new fire districts in Josephine County over the years.

Rural Metro Operations Chief Austin Prince says any emergency service needs to be done the right way, but that comes with a cost.

Prince said, “they’re more into the costs than the safety and service delivery, so they like competition in order to keep prices low and while that’s a great idea in most retail and general business practices, that is extremely bad for emergency services.”

He says it can also lead to confusion when more than one agency responds to the same fire.

Prince says most municipalities around the country tend to have one fire suppression service provider in an area.

We reached out to the Josephine County Commissioners, but they were unavailable for an interview.

They were unavailable earlier this week as well.

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Maximus Osburn is a reporter for NBC5 News. He studied at California State University-Northridge, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting. Maximus is an avid martial arts enthusiast and combat sports fan. He even traveled to Thailand to train with martial arts experts. Maximus loves movies, nature, and doing things outside his comfort zone, like swimming in sub-freezing lakes in the winter.
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