Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced the U.S. Agriculture Department will provide a $220,000 loan and a $300,000 grant to help the Baker Rural Fire Protection District acquire land and a building in Baker City to serve as a new fire station and also as a site for regional training and meetings.
“Defending lives and property from the threat of fires is crucial to quality of life for Oregonians living and working in rural communities,” Wyden said. “I’m glad the federal government is investing these key resources to help the Baker Rural Fire Protection District provide the protection that Oregonians in and around Baker City deserve. Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative’s willingness to take on this work in support of the Fire District should be celebrated and recognized. I’ll keep pressing for similar investments throughout our state.”
“With intense drought hitting Baker County again this year, fire preparedness has never been more important,” said Merkley. “The work of the Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative Inc. and the Baker Rural Fire Protection District are crucial to families and businesses who call Baker County home. This funding will help save lives and livelihoods.”
The combined $520,000 investment from the Agriculture Department’s rural economic development loan and grant program will be targeted for the land and building at 3855 23rd St. in Baker City.
“As a member-owned electric cooperative, we have a vested interest in the safety and success of the communities we serve, and rural fire departments play a critical role in that as well,” said Lea Hoover, OTEC’s Director of Member and Strategic Services. “Helping the fire district pursue and secure this loan and grant to purchase this fire station saved local taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. We also take the threat of wildfires very seriously and we will continue to be proactive in our efforts to mitigate the ever-changing risk associated with them and will also continue to work with our local rural fire departments to help keep the communities we serve safe.”
A web version of this release is here.