To the Editor:

This is in response to a news article published Sept. 12 entitled, “Miller officially out as Philomath’s fire chief.” There were statements from the former chief that may leave citizens with an incorrect impression that we wish to address.

Responding to former Chief Miller’s statement that the district “walked out on the Kings Valley agreement,” Philomath Fire & Rescue has taken no action at present to change the existing intergovernmental agreement with Kings Valley Rural Fire Protection District. The present agreement may be taken up by both boards, and with both chiefs, given the changing dynamics of the department and existing staffing. This is an at-will agreement between departments and there are opportunities to modify the agreement to the workability of both departments, if needed.

Responding to former Chief Miller’s “worry” for the citizens of the Wren area, there has been no practical changes in the response to that area for years. From 2016 to present, the average response time has been eight minutes (down from 11 minutes before 2016, when we did not have 24/7 coverage at the main station). There have been 21 calls of service this year in the Wren area, of which one call was responded to from Station 202 and still required a response from Station 201 with ALS (advanced life support) personnel.

The district’s goal is to provide the best overall service without changing staffing levels from day to day. Our goal is consistent responses every day, not just Monday through Friday.

The dedicated staff, volunteers and board of Philomath Fire & Rescue are committed to quality service for all citizens of our fire district, and to responding with qualified and highly trained personnel, both paid and volunteer. We continue to support our neighboring fire departments while maintaining adequate coverage for our own department.

Chancy Ferguson
Philomath Fire & Rescue interim fire chief