"It is our duty to prevent and protect from all fires and provide emergency medical aid to our community."
Formed in 1963, Evans Valley Rural Fire Protection District No. 4-206 (Evans Valley Fire District #6) has served and protected the Wimer community for over 50 years. Community volunteers originally formed the District to provide their own fire protection, purchasing the first fire engine, a 1936 Pirsch, with donated funds. Bill Simmons was one of the community members involved in the formation of the District and was honored to be named the first Fire Chief. In the early days, board meetings were held at the Alaskan Cafe, next to the covered bridge in Wimer.
The first fire station was built on leased land from the Wimer Grange, which would go on to be donated to the District in 2007. The original fire station was another community project funded through the donation of materials and labor. This station is still used by the District today for reserve apparatus and workout facilities. Throughout the 1960s, the District worked on acquiring more fire equipment and apparatus and had two fire engines and a water tender by the end of the decade.
By 1970 the District had developed enough to earn an ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating of 9b, which resulted in significant savings for those who insured their homes from fire. In 1978 the District was given a new tax base by the voters. This allowed the District to hire a permanent Fire Chief and improve its ISO rating. Scott Lochard was hired as the first permanent Fire Chief. By the end of 1979, the District had improved enough to earn an ISO class 8b rating.
The 1980s saw a great deal of growth for the District. In 1981 the taxpayers approved a levy to build a new fire station. And then again, In 1985, the taxpayers approved another measure to purchase a new fire engine and a water tender. The District continued to grow throughout the rest of the '80s, and in 1994, property next door to the fire station was purchased for future training grounds.
The '90s proved to be a challenging time for Evans Valley and the Oregon fire service in general. State-mandated training and OR-OSHA requirements created new challenges, and finding volunteers became a full-time commitment. Also, the passage of Measure 47 reduced the revenues that fire districts could generate, putting further pressure on already tight budgets.
Y2K passed without a hitch, and we marched into the 21st century. In 2004 the District went to the taxpayers again and asked for a levy to purchase new equipment. The community agreed, and a new rescue unit and water tender were purchased. By the end of the 2000s, most rescue equipment and apparatus had been brought up to industry standards.
The 2010s brought a focus by Fire Chief Bill Fuller on improving staffing, and in 2010 the citizens of Evans Valley approved an operations tax levy. With this funding, a "Student Staffing Program" was created. In return for college tuition and book costs, the students pull ten twenty-four-hour shifts per month. This allowed for the District's response times to be significantly reduced. We even received an "Outstanding Program Award" from the Special Districts Association of Oregon with our new staffing program. Based on our success, the tax levy was renewed again in 2014 and 2021.
Today the District has eight fire/rescue apparatus, permanent full-time employees, part-time employees, volunteer student firefighters, response volunteers, non-response volunteers, and support service volunteers. The adage is true, organizations are only as strong as their people, and Evans Valley Fire District #6 is no exception. Since 1963 over 300 brave men and women have served as volunteers and employees in the District. We are incredibly proud of our history, and with the community's continued support and strong Board of Directors leadership, we know we can overcome any challenges that await. We are excited about where the future will take us.