Browse more profiles
Three Cities Fire and Emergency Services Project
Three Cities Fire and Emergency Services Project

Project Background and Overview

Fairview, Troutdale and Wood Village, and all other Oregon cities, are responsible for providing their citizens with fire and emergency medical (EM) services. Rather than establish internal city fire departments, the Three Cities entered into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to purchase services from the City of Gresham in March 2006. These services include fire suppression, fire prevention, emergency medical services, and hazardous materials response (2005 Fire Service IGA). Under this IGA, the Three Cities collectively reimbursed Gresham $2.705 million for FEMS in 2012-2013. The current IGA will expire June 30, 2015, and the Three Cities are preparing to review their arrangements for fire and EM services.

In March 2013, the Portland State University (PSU), Center for Public Service (CPS) entered into a consulting agreement with the City of Troutdale, acting for itself and on behalf of the cities of Wood Village and Fairview, in a project to analyze the services provided under the Gresham Fire and Emergency Services IGA. The Portland State CPS team and the Three Cities agreed to treat the Three Cities as a combined, single entity for project analysis purposes.

The consulting agreement between CPS and the Three Cities defined the following analysis areas and work task deliverables:

  • An analysis of current fire and EM services system charges and tax revenue structures (Task I),
  • A “Call for Service” profile analysis, showing the types and frequency of both routine calls and major events – e.g. a detailed break-out of medical calls vs. firefocused service calls (Tasks II & III),
  • An administrative cost and program capital cost analysis, showing what Three Cities’ citizens are paying to support service delivery,
  • A station-centered cost analysis based on Gresham Fire and Emergency Services operation of Stations 74 and 75. (Task V),
  • The development and comparison of various service delivery alternatives, including (but not limited to) re-negotiating the existing contract and service arrangements with Gresham; establishing new service offerings, either within the existing Gresham contract or through the creation of a new entity; and/or shared services arrangements with other entities. (Task VIII).

Download the full report | View Presentation of Key Findings

Research Team

  • Dr. Kent Robinson, Adjunct Professor, Center for Public Service, Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University
  • Bob Winthrop, Senior CPS Fellow
  • Geoff Wullschlager, Graduate Student, Public Administration
  • Lisa Durden, Graduate Student, Public Administration

The consulting agreement task order called on the team to assess and understand the full Gresham Fire and Emergency Services (GFES) system from a service and financial perspective. Building on the full-system assessment, the team next focused on the Three Cities as a unique, combined service area. This led to development of an incident risk analysis for the Three Cities, an assessment of current services responding to those risks, and a brief financial review of current and potential tax revenues available to the Three Cities. Lastly, CPS developed a menu of service delivery options that could help Three Cities elected officials, executive administrators and citizens understand possible alternative service delivery arrangements. The team developed the menu of alternatives based on information from the GFES and from other comparable fire districts.