Umatilla County Fire District #1 has opened up a new fire station east of Hat Rock State Park.
Known as Station 25, or the Hawman station, it holds three fire trucks and will assist in the fire district’s coverage of the Hat Rock community, which was annexed into the district in May 2020, and surrounding areas.
Fire Chief Scott Stanton said the new station will put about 95% of UCFD’s district within 5 miles of a station. He said it will not only be of benefit for a quicker response during fires, but property owners in Hat Rock and surrounding areas should save “a lot of money” on home insurance premiums with a much lower ISO rating, which insurers use to determine a fire district’s ability to prevent or suppress fires on a property.
Usually, fire districts ask voters to pass a bond for a new fire station, but in this case, the district partnered with Hawman Farms.
Stanton said Mike Hawman, who is a director on the fire district’s board, offered to lease ground on his farm to the district for $1 per year and to pay for the building of the new station up front. The district will then purchase the building — which Stanton said was about $460,000 — from Hawman, allowing it to make payments over time.
The station is located at the intersection of Highway 37 and Walls Road.
Stanton said after the district’s 2019 purchase of two new engines, that freed up other engines for Station 25.
The station won’t be regularly staffed by paid UCFD personnel, but Stanton said they are recruiting volunteers for it.
He said the district always needs new volunteer firefighters, wherever those volunteers may live within the district.
“Our volunteers are down and calls continue to go up, so we’re always looking for help,” he said.