Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Crazy Fire Lady (Part One)

Wow. How is it possible I have neglected this blog for so long? Well, it all started last July...

I came home one evening and saw on the local news that they were planning on closing a fire station. "What?", I said to myself. "How could anyone ever even think that that would be the way to save money?" Then, they showed the station and I realized it was MY fire station. The crew from that station had responded so quickly the morning my mom had a heart attack. I saw them all the time in my neighborhood on calls or shopping for groceries right next to me at the Safeway.

Our City Council was having a town hall meeting the following week, so I decided to go and let them know that this was just outrageous. Somewhere in my mind, I thought it had to be a mistake or a political ploy or something. Seriously? Who would balance a budget by closing a fire station? Wouldn't that be political suicide for any politician? Does anyone remember the footage of the World Trade Centers on 9-11? It hasn't even been 10 years since the nation mourned those 343 firefighters who rushed in to save strangers and perished alongside them.

When John and I walked into the school auditorium for the town hall gathering, we were met with a large, angry crowd, most of whom had a "NO TOLLS!" sign in their hand. They were angry it seems because our Mayor had campaigned on a no tolls platform the past November and had just stated that it appeared tolls would be necessary to build a new bridge across the Columbia River into Portland (the I-5 bridge). Well, he won the election over the incumbent and now these folks felt cheated. Every question was about the bridge and tolls. John nudged me and said, "Stand up and talk - even if it isn't about tolls." Thanks to John, I did.

Imagine my shock when 6 of the 7 members of the council spoke to me about "what a hard decision closing the station was but it was necessary to keep other services from being cut completely". Now, I was not only baffled, but royally pissed off. What other service is higher on the list than our firefighters? That night I found out that not only were they planning on closing the fire station, they were going to eliminate 13 firefighter positions and 21 police officers from the force. I left that town hall meeting full of anger, disgust and determination and I didn't even have a clue that my life had just changed forever.

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