Portland Fire & Rescue - IN THE NEWS
By: Steve Beaven
January 25, 2012
The Portland fire bureau has proposed renovating or replacing FireStation 21, at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge. The estimate for rebuilding the station is about $7.9 million.
The Portland fire bureau is considering demolishing the fire station on the Eastbank Esplanade and rebuilding it as part of a seismic upgrade — work that could begin as soon as the fall.
The station, at 5 S.E. Madison St., sits at the foot of the Hawthorne Bridgeacross from downtown Portland. Because of its location, Station 21 is crucial for access to the river for the fire bureau and other agencies.
And because it was closed when other Portland fire stations got seismic upgrades in recent years, it’s outdated, said Deputy Chief Marco Benetti.
On Tuesday morning, Benetti will join the architect on the project and others to talk about the project in a pre-construction conference with the Portland Bureau of Development Services.
For the moment, the fire bureau is considering three options.
- Renovate the one-story station by adding a second story.
- Demolished it and replace the facility with a two-story building.
- Demolish and replace with a larger one-story building.
But because rebuilding the station could cost about $1 million more than a remodel, Benetti said, it makes more sense to build a new facility. A preliminary estimate from 2009 for renovating the station was about $6.8 million, he said. A recent estimate for construction of a new station was about $7.9 million.
The money would come from the 2010 Public Safety Bond, from which the fire bureau will receive $27.7 million. In addition to the station, the bureau also wants to build a new boathouse and an extension to the existing dock, according to the Bureau of Development Services.
The project remains in the planning stages. But Benetti said he hoped to see “substantial construction” under way by fall.
The station is part of the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood, and Joanne Stainbrook, the land use chairwoman for the neighborhood, said it’s too early to judge the project.
She added, however, that she hopes the work at Station 21doesn’t reduce the area’s level of fire service.
The bureau will have a temporary, fully staffed, 24-hour facility nearby during construction, Benetti said. Because staffing in the neighborhood will remain the same, Benetti doesn’t believe delays in service will occur, he said.
The current facility operated as a fire station from 1961 to 1990, when it was converted to an administrative facility for the emergency medical services office and the investigations unit, according to the bureau.
The station was reopened in 2008 to serve as the temporary home of Station 1, when that building was renovated. In June 2010, Station 23 was closed as part of Station 21’s reopening, and its crews moved to the riverside facility.
But, Benetti said, in the event of an earthquake Station 21 would likely be destroyed in its current state.
“We don’t want to worry about rescuing people who are supposed to be rescuing everybody else,” he said.
Portland Fire & Rescue