Medford site sought for new fire station

West Stewart Avenue location would replace Eighth Street facility

Medford Fire-Rescue hopes to close the deal soon on a $337,000 piece of property on West Stewart Avenue that will be the site of a new fire station.

The agency will ask the Medford City Council for permission Thursday to buy the 1.36-acre plot at 1375 W. Stewart Ave., near the intersection of Stewart and South Columbus Avenue.

The site will serve as the replacement for the outdated fire station at 1241 W. Eighth St. Once a new station is built, the Eighth Street station will close, said Medford Fire-Rescue Operations Chief Justin Bates.

"We are still very early in the process and there won't be a new station on the new location for around three years or so," Bates said.

The Eighth Street station was built in 1951. Its location near an intersection makes it difficult for the engines to get in and out of the station, and there is no air-filtration system in the engine bay.

"When you start up those diesel engines, the entire station fills with exhaust," Bates said. "It's not a good environment for firefighters to live in."

The station is too small for modern fire engines, Bates said.

"These engines have thousands and thousands of dollars in equipment on them, and you can't leave that stuff sitting out overnight," he said.

The money for the land will come from the department's current budget, Bates said.

"We don't have to go to the voters for additional money to pay for the station or the land," Bates said.

Medford Councilor Bob Strosser said it is key that city agencies live within their means and pay for services without asking voters to chip in with new taxes.

"They definitely needed a new fire station, there was no doubt about that," Strosser said. "The fire department demonstrated good faith and will pay for the land from its budget."

The plot will be equipped with basic utilities and other services in the coming months, Bates said.

The department studied its calls for service and found that placing the new station on West Stewart Avenue will help with response times throughout the city's west side.

A site near South Medford High School on Columbus Avenue was briefly considered, but it proved less optimal than the West Stewart Avenue location, Bates said.

The city will sell the West Eighth Street plot and use the money to help fund the new station, Bates said.

No sale price for the location has been set, Bates said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.


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