The city of Pendleton started construction on the new Pendleton Fire Station No. 1, almost a year to the day after the city voters approved $10 million to fund it.
The Pendleton City Council, city staff, and a few members of the public gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new fire station at 1455 S.E. Court Ave., set to replace the current facility at 911 S.W. Court Ave.
As the members of the city council put their golden shovels and hard hats away, Joseph Hull, the director of business development/operations for McCormack Construction Co., explained how the early stages of the building process will work.
With the ceremonial part out of the way, Hull said construction crews will begin work on the $1.9 million first phase of construction, which includes extending utilities to the site, pouring the foundation, and creating a new block of Southeast 15th Street that will connect Southeast Court Place to Southeast Court Avenue.
The new street is important to the project, as it provides easy emergency vehicle access to Court Avenue. Eventually, the city will install a traffic sign that will flash and stop traffic when emergency vehicles need to leave the facility.
Hull said the new 15th Street won’t be open to the public until the fire station is completed next year.
The city is expected to select a bid for the next phase of construction in early June, and by mid-summer, Hull said the first phase should be complete.
From there, the project will “go vertical” as work crews begin building the actual structure.
Hull said he expects the site to be graded and the structure enclosed by the time winter hits.
That will allow contractors to continue to work on the inside of the building through the cold weather months and stay on target for opening in the early summer of 2019.
When the new fire station is done, it’s expected to provide faster emergency response times, better living quarters and more room for training.
With a new fire station on its way, it may be quite a while before Pendleton will see another groundbreaking on a new fire department headquarters.
Noting that the first Pendleton fire station was established 1885 and the fire department has been at its current facility since 1959, Assistant Fire Chief Shawn Penninger said the new station will serve the city for the next 75 years.