WOODINVILLE, Wash. — Voters in Kenmore and Lake Forest Park will decide in a special election Tuesday if the Northshore Fire Department will merge with Woodinville Fire & Rescue.
The firefighters' union doesn’t support the idea.
”It's a better deployment model for us, no one loses a job,” said Northshore Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Doug McDonald.
McDonald said Prop 1 will allow for more efficient use of resources.
"Service is going to remain the same or be improved; my ability to move personnel around as if someone were to call in sick from Woodinville and I have additional staffing available in North Shore again this would be a combined agency,” McDonald said.
Northshore Firefighters Local 2459, the union representing Northshore firefighters, said the merger does not boost emergency services, reduces firefighter wages, and doesn’t save tax dollars.
"Essentially, what their plan to do is to save potentially overtime, in Woodinville and/or Northshore. But by doing that you decrease service in one area, to maintain service in the other,” said Jeremy Jamerson, a lieutenant with Northshore Fire Department and treasurer for the Northshore Firefighters Local 2459 Union.
Northshore includes Lake Forest Park and Kenmore.
McDonald said the fire district covers about 10-square-miles. The Woodinville Fire Department covers 30 square miles, but both have around the same population.
McDonald said the merger could help boost the district resources during the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and wildfire season.
Prop 1 is facing steep opposition. Both the Kenmore City Council and the Lake Forest Park City Council passed a resolution opposing the merger.
"It keeps our fire department in the same way it has been for the last 65-plus years, and it puts this whole merger idea back to the drawing board,” said Jamerson.
If approved, the combined districts will work with the community to come up with a new name for the fire district.
Click here for a list of ballot drop off locations. Ballots must be returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day.