Photo contributed by Pendleton Fire Department
Pendleton firefighters at their future station will be able to warn passers-by they are hitting the road with the push of a button.
A big, red, mushroom-shaped button on the wall.
The new station on the east end of town also will house old fire tech — the city’s 59-year-old fire pole and original bell.
Fire Chief Mike Ciraulo and members of the design firm Mackenzie and general contractor McCormack Construction delivered the tidbits during an update on the fire state Tuesday night at the city hall Community Room. The project is funded by a $10 million bond voters approved last year. The red button, Ciraulo said, is about increasing public safety and cutting down emergency response time.
Project manager and architect Cathy Bowman of Mackenzie explained the Oregon Department of Transportation is working to help install underground electrical conduits that connect to warning beacons at street corners, akin to flashing walk signals, and when firefighters push the button on the way to their engines and ambulances, drivers and pedestrians will get a vital heads up to look out.
If emergency responders forget to push the button, she said, they can activate the warning lights from their vehicles.
The team revealed the latest renderings of the new station that will occupy the large empty lot on the 1600 block of Southeast Court Avenue where St. Anthony Hospital used to stand. The station resembles a fat “T,” with a wide stem for the vehicle bays that open onto side streets. The two-story “top” will face Court, with offices on the first floor, including space for Pendleton police, and living quarters on the second. Cyrus Beedles, architect and Bowman’s right-hand man, said the design captures Pendleton’s historic sense, with red brick for the first floor and the bays.
Ciraulo added the location also is about fast response times. Pendleton’s east end is not ripe for significant growth, he said, compared to other areas of the city.
He also painted the project as a good deal. Ciraulo said he does not know the ins-and-outs of the bond market, but Pendleton got the $10 million bond for closer to $9 million.
Several Pendleton locals were on hand, but most of the roughly 20 people in attendance were city firefighters, staff and elected officials. Mayor John Turner said he was pleased the project is coming in under budget.
Joe Hull, McCormack’s business director, said the project was the right size to bring in local subcontractors for electrical, concrete and other work, and that money stays in the local economy.
The project remains on track to break ground in May, and Hull said next summer is the move-in target.
“I know it says fall,” Hull told the group, “but we’re going to beat that.”
Ciraulo added the fire department team can’t wait.