History of Crooked River Ranch Rural Fire Protection District
In 1976, in cooperation with the developer of Crooked River Ranch, W.R. (Bill) MacPherson, residents Bob Ward, Jack McMillan, Bob Arnold and Ken Yost petitioned for the formation of the Crooked River Ranch Rural Fire Protection District.
In 1977 the Fire District was officially formed, and Ken Yost was appointed as the first Fire Chief. Ken had retired to Crooked River Ranch from the position of Fire Chief in Portland, OR. A 1940 Ford "pumper" and 1951 Chevrolet "pumper" were donated to the "new" Fire District by Mr. MacPherson. A 1948 International pumper was leased from Bob Lord, who was "Crooked River Bob" on the TV commercials advertising lots for sale on the Ranch. A 1954 Howard Cooper* pumper was purchased, and the fire hall was built. Ken and Iva Yost took a mortgage out on their home to purchase the 1954 Howard Cooper fire truck. The Fire District made their home mortgage payments until the truck was paid for.
The site of the original fire station, at Hill Road & Shad Road, was chosen because it was within five miles of any part of the ranch. An article was written in one of the local papers about how the Crooked River Ranch Volunteer Fire District had built itself a new fire house---but a problem had arisen. It seems that, after insulation was sprayed on the inside of the bay doors, the insulation (which should have dried out quickly but did not) left the doors stuck. The only solution seemed to be to build a fire in the firehouse to dry the insulation! It was two weeks before the insulation dried and they could open the doors. Another article, appearing in the Crooked River Chronicle, advertised for Fireladdies and Fireladies. The Fire District Board had voted on allowing women to serve as volunteers on the same basis as men. These women would not be an auxiliary, but would be female firefighters with the same duties and responsibilities as the men.
In 1978 Bill Atkinson was appointed Fire Chief. The Oregon Department of Forestry loaned a 1956 GMC Tanker to the District. Also, a 1956 GMC 6 X 6 was received from the county through the federal government surplus program. The 2-way radios were leased, and Bingo was THE big fundraiser!
The proposed 1977-78 budget for the District was $16,000.
In 1979 Gene Adrian was appointed Fire Chief, and a semi tanker and pumper (both used) were purchased. It was a tough year for volunteers, and the morale hit a low.
In 1980 Stan Irish was appointed Fire Chief, and a Chief's pickup (used) was purchased. An addition was added to the fire station.
In 1981 Spike Durfee was hired as fulltime Fire Chief. The interior of the station was remodeled, adding an office, a kitchen, a "barn" workbench, and a hose dryer. An area was also paved to be used as a storage space. Training programs were increased this year. After about four months into 1981, the Chief's position went to half time in order to have extra money for equipment. The first radio systems were purchased, and everything was moving forward!
In 1983 the District became "somebody," when the Insurance Services Organization gave the Ranch an "insurance rating" of 7!
* This is the piece of apparatus that is the object of a restoration project by the Volunteer Fire Association.
EDITORS NOTE: We are still working on building the history by talking with past members and Chiefs. We will keep adding to this page so check back!