Since Central Coast Fire and Rescue laid off two of their three full time employees back in February due to money problems, the fire district’s board of directors turned over all ambulance service responsibilities to Pac-West Ambulance, which serves a lot of areas in the county north of Waldport. But because that spreads Pac-West a bit more thin, Yachats Fire and Rescue has also stepped in to help.
Amidst these quick changes the Lincoln County Commission, which handles which agency provides medical services to which part of the county, has opened up a period of time during which any other ambulance service can apply to serve the Waldport area. Any ambulance company that would like to apply can contact Lincoln County Counsel Wayne Belmont at 265-4108
But then it got even more complicated. Central Coast Fire-Rescue volunteer Rick Booth, who leads the volunteers and doubles as the district chaplain said, in so many words, that a lot of stuff is still very much up in the air in Waldport. Booth said there is a property tax increase on the May ballot which would provide additional revenues for what’s been widely described as a cash-strapped Central Coast Fire operation. Booth said a great many Waldport area/Fire District citizens were, and remain, opposed to the Central Coast Fire District Board bailing out of the ambulance business and turning over district assets to Pac-West.
So – lots of moving parts with many of them up in the air. The bottom line for the county commissioners is to acknowledge that Pac-West has stepped in to fill the Waldport area ambulance gap coupled with further back-up from Yachats Fire-Rescue. Hopefully by December 31st this will all be settled.
Yachats Fire Chief Frankie Petrick assured the commissioners that between Pac-West and Yachats/South County ambulance, the area should be well covered and ready for any emergency. She said it’s a long proud tradition of fire departments to be there for each other and to back each other up on serious fires, accidents and rescues. She said “That will continue.”