Fire Station One

Apparatus bays near completion as the work on Pendleton’s new Fire Station One wraps up.

It would be difficult to find a better example of the wise use of taxpayer dollars than the nearly complete new Pendleton Fire Station project.

About two years ago local voters approved $9 million in funding for the new fire station and it looks like the project will be completed on time and — most importantly — under budget.

That’s says a lot for the project contractors, officials and elected leaders who steered the venture. It shows that the proper use of taxpayer dollars was a high priority.

The project is one of those necessary items every community eventually must address. Emergency service projects are never cheap but they are essential.

This time voters can be assured that their decision to fork over $9 million was the right choice, and more importantly, that their money was used in a wise fashion.

The contentious Oregon Legislative session may be over but a kick in the pants to those who are ensuring the the fallout from its end isn’t over. Senate leaders are preparing to fine Republicans for their eight-day walkout. The fines — up to $3,500 — could be sent out soon. There is nothing illegal about the move but it smacks of retaliation. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Sending fines to Republicans lawmakers who walked out will create even more strife and leave a sour taste for voters from a session that is already rife with animosity.

A tip of the hat to the Eastern Oregon Women’s Coalition for sponsoring its first economic summit July 26 at Hermiston High School. The effort is designed to spark discussion about challenges rural Oregon faces — especially regarding its economy — and will attract some big names such as U.S. Rep. Greg Walden. Efforts like the economic summit are crucial for our region and provide a viable platform for building a strong future.

A tip of the hat to those who are doing their part to make sure this summer is fire free. There haven’t been many forest fires — yet — this summer but one statistic should give all of us pause. Too many range and forest fires are still ignited through human error and negligence. All of us, as we recreate this summer, need to remember to use caution — especially when the fire danger is high — and be aware that our actions could lead to serious damage to the places we love.

Following guidelines on fire and camp safety and paying attention will go a long way toward slashing fires that can cost millions and put lives at risk.

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