Chapter 478 — Rural Fire Protection Districts

 

2015 EDITION

 

 

RURAL FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS

 

PROTECTION FROM FIRE

 

GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

478.001     Definitions

 

478.002     Status of districts existing in 1957

 

478.004     New district succeeds to and replaces abolished district

 

FORMATION

 

478.010     Formation; territories that may not be included in districts

 

478.050     Qualifications for directors

 

478.090     Effect of 1939 Act on districts then existing

 

478.100     Immaterial defects in organization not to invalidate district organization

 

478.115     County governing body to determine territory of district

 

478.120     Inclusion of forestland in district

 

478.130     Certain structures subject to fire damage to be added to tax rolls

 

478.140     Procedure for adding land to district by consent of owner

 

478.150     Conference with State Forestry Department required prior to formation of district or annexation of territory

 

478.155     Formation of district with tax zones; contents of formation petition and order creating district; determination of tax levy in each zone; boundary changes

 

478.160     Filing of boundary or zone change with county assessor and Department of Revenue

 

POWERS AND DUTIES

 

478.210     Directors; organization; term; oath

 

478.215     Position numbers for director election

 

478.221     Nomination and election of directors

 

478.225     Election subdistricts; petition for formation; election

 

478.228     Boundaries of subdistricts

 

478.231     Election laws applicable

 

478.234     Subdistricts for nomination or election of directors

 

478.240     Special elections; electors

 

478.250     Meetings and officers of board

 

478.260     Fire chief and assistants; headquarters; acquisition of site; fire and first-aid apparatus and equipment; emergency medical and ambulance services

 

478.270     Reports of directors; State Fire Marshal to cooperate and furnish blank forms

 

478.280     Employment of assistants

 

478.290     Additional authority of districts within 10-mile radius of city of 100,000 or more

 

478.300     Contracting with others to provide facilities and services for fire protection or road lighting; authority over open burning and fire permits; rules

 

478.305     Contracting with others for mutual communication system; contracts in other states

 

478.308     Contracting with others for regional oil and hazardous material emergency response team

 

478.310     Response to fire or public safety incident outside its own territory by district or municipality; liability for costs

478.315     Response to fire or public safety incident in Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area; payment of costs

 

BENEFITS FOR DISTRICT EMPLOYEES

 

478.325     District may levy taxes for purposes of ORS 478.335 to 478.370

 

478.335     Contracts for medical and hospital services or insurance

 

478.340     Payment of premiums or charges on contracts; employee contributions; multiple contracts

 

478.355     Establishment of employee retirement system; provisions of plan

 

478.360     Fund to provide retirement benefits

 

478.365     Employee contributions to retirement fund

 

478.370     Retirement benefits not to be funded for individual not employee of district when membership in system created

BENEFITS FOR DISTRICT VOLUNTEERS

 

478.390     Investments authorized to fund length of service awards for volunteer firefighters

 

REVENUES AND FINANCES

 

(Generally)

 

478.410     Power of district to levy taxes, borrow money, sell bonds and create fees

 

478.420     Sale of bonds

 

478.430     Ad valorem tax

 

478.440     Gifts; sinking fund

 

478.450     Tax for road lighting; method

 

478.460     Deposit and disbursement of funds

 

478.470     Interest on unpaid warrants; limitation on amount of warrants

 

(Tax Zones)

 

478.480     Formation of tax zones; basis for zones; public hearing

 

478.485     Notice of public hearing

 

478.490     Election on question of dividing district into tax zones; order creating zones; effect

 

478.495     Limitation on changes in tax zone boundaries

 

478.500     Determination of tax levy in each tax zone

 

478.505     Petition for tax zones by district electors; number of signatures required; public hearing

 

(Multicounty Districts)

 

478.560     Deposit and disbursement of funds of districts located in two or more counties

 

WITHDRAWAL OF TERRITORY

 

478.665     Withdrawal of territory from district; inclusion in forest protection district; assessment

 

FIRE SAFETY SYSTEMS

 

478.840     Definitions for ORS 478.845 to 478.875

 

478.845     Revenue bonds authorized for fire safety systems

 

478.850     Sources of bond payment restricted

 

478.855     Loan fund created from bond proceeds; other sources for fund

 

478.860     Standards for eligibility for loans for fire safety systems

 

478.865     Loan contract; repayment plan; terms and conditions

 

478.870     Powers granted to enforce loan contracts and secure payment of bonds; reserve fund

 

478.875     Remedies for breach of loan contract

 

478.880     Legislative findings

 

478.885     Payment or repayment for cost of fire safety system installation in multifamily housing

 

FIRE PREVENTION CODE; FIRE PERMITS

 

478.910     Adoption of fire prevention code

 

478.920     Scope of fire prevention code

 

478.924     Approval of code by city or county required

 

478.927     Building permit review for fire prevention code

 

478.930     Violation of code; failure to remove hazards; burning waste without permit prohibited

 

478.940     Copies of code to be filed with State Fire Marshal and posted at fire stations

 

478.960     Burning of certain materials permitted only with permission of fire chief; damage or injury; burning schedules and restrictions

 

478.965     Recovery by district of costs of suppressing unlawful fire; attorney fees

 

DISTRICT IDENTIFICATION NAMES

 

478.970     Purpose of district identification names

 

478.972     Application by district to State Fire Marshal for identification name

 

478.980     Identification name for district formed by consolidation or merger of districts

 

478.982     Reuse of names of dissolved districts

 

PENALTIES

 

478.990     Penalties

 

GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

      478.001 Definitions. (1) As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise:

      (a) “Board of directors” or “district board” means the governing body of a district.

      (b) “County” means the county in which the district, or the greater portion of the taxable assessed value of the district, is located.

      (c) “County board” means the county court or board of county commissioners of the county.

      (d) “District” means a rural fire protection district proposed to be organized or organized under, or subject to, this chapter.

      (e) “Owner” or “landowner” means a legal owner of real property or the vendee of a contract of purchase of real property, if any, to the exclusion of the vendor. The term includes a unit owner, as defined in ORS 100.005.

      (2) As used in ORS 478.960:

      (a) “Commercial waste” means any waste produced in any business involving the lease or sale, including wholesale and retail, of goods or services, including but not limited to housing, and means any waste produced by a governmental, educational or charitable institution; however, it does not include any waste produced in a dwelling containing four living units or less.

      (b) “Demolition material” means any waste resulting from the complete or partial destruction of any man-made structure such as a house, apartment, commercial building or industrial building.

      (c) “Domestic waste” means any nonputrescible waste, consisting of combustible materials, such as paper, cardboard, yard clippings, wood, or similar materials, generated in a dwelling, including the real property upon which it is situated, containing four living units or less.

      (d) “Field burning” means the burning of any grass field, grain field, pasture, rangeland or other field by open burning or by use of mobile equipment or flaming equipment on any land or vegetation.

      (e) “Industrial waste” means any waste resulting from any process or activity of manufacturing or construction.

      (f) “Land clearing debris” means any waste generated by the removal of debris, logs, trees, brush or demolition material from any site in preparation for land improvement or construction projects.

      (g) “Open burning” means any burning conducted in such a manner that combustion air is not effectively controlled and that combustion products are not vented through a stack or chimney, including but not limited to burning conducted in open outdoor fires, common burn barrels and backyard incinerators. [1969 c.667 §2; 1975 c.635 §3; 1983 c.83 §95; 1983 c.350 §282; 1987 c.834 §5]

 

      478.002 Status of districts existing in 1957. (1) There hereby is created a rural fire protection district territorially coterminous with each rural fire protection district existing on July 2, 1957, or established after July 2, 1957, and prior to November 22, 1957, if such rural fire protection district was at that time a valid district but for the fact that its electorate was restricted to property owners. In determining the boundaries of districts created by this subsection, full effect shall be given to annexations, withdrawals and consolidations effected by rural fire protection districts prior to November 22, 1957, under this chapter or other statutes authorizing or purporting to authorize such action.

      (2) Rural fire protection districts territorially coterminous with the districts created by subsection (1) of this section hereby are abolished.

      (3) Rural fire protection districts created by this section shall be governed by this chapter. [1957 s.s. c.10 §1; 1959 c.344 §1]

 

      478.004 New district succeeds to and replaces abolished district. Each rural fire protection district created by ORS 478.002 shall in all respects succeed to and replace the territorially coterminous rural fire protection district abolished by ORS 478.002. Without limiting the foregoing:

      (1) A successor district is:

      (a) The owner of the property of the succeeded district, including real property and funds on deposit with the county treasurer or banks.

      (b) Successor party to the contracts of the succeeded district.

      (c) Successor party to the court proceedings of the succeeded district.

      (d) Successor obligor on the indebtedness of the succeeded district.

      (2) The rules, regulations, fire protection codes and identification numbers of the succeeded district are the rules, regulations, fire protection codes and identification numbers of the successor district, until changed by appropriate action under this chapter.

      (3) The directors and officers of the succeeded district are the directors and officers of the successor district. Each director and officer shall hold office for a term equal to the term of the office of the director or officer in the succeeded district. [1957 s.s. c.10 §2]

 

FORMATION

 

      478.010 Formation; territories that may not be included in districts. (1) A rural fire protection district may be formed in the manner set forth in ORS 478.010 to 478.100.

      (2) A district may not include:

      (a) Territory within a city unless otherwise authorized by law.

      (b) Territory within a water supply district organized under ORS chapter 264 if the district has previously been authorized by its electors to exercise the fire protection powers prescribed by ORS 264.340.

      (c) Forestlands included within a forest protection district under ORS 477.205 to 477.281 unless the owner consents and notifies the rural fire protection district, however, forestland protected pursuant to ORS 477.205 to 477.281 and not exceeding five acres in one ownership shall be included in the rural fire protection district without the owner’s consent if the ownership includes any structures subject to damage by fire. Forestland included in a rural fire protection district under this subsection subjects the forestland to assessments for fire protection by the rural fire protection district and the forest protection district.

      (d) Railroad rights of way or improvements thereon or rolling stock moving thereover unless the owner of such property consents.

      (e) Ocean shores as defined by ORS 390.605. [Subsection (2) enacted as 1953 c.144 §1; 1969 c.651 §3; 1969 c.667 §§3,69; 1971 c.727 §137; 1973 c.124 §1; 1973 c.337 §1a; 2001 c.104 §217]

 

      478.020 [Amended by 1967 c.610 §2; 1969 c.667 §4; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.030 [Amended by 1967 c.610 §3; 1969 c.667 §5; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.040 [Repealed by 1957 s.s. c.10 §4 (478.041 enacted in lieu of 478.040)]

 

      478.041 [1957 s.s. c.10 §5 (enacted in lieu of 478.040); 1959 c.68 §1; 1961 c.523 §1; 1961 c.549 §1; 1969 c.667 §6; repealed by 1971 c.727 §191]

 

      478.050 Qualifications for directors. A director of a district shall be an elector or an owner within the district. A district may determine, by ordinance that takes effect at least one year prior to the date of a regular district election, that firefighters of the district, volunteer or otherwise, and other district employees shall not serve as directors. [Amended by 1963 c.299 §1; 1969 c.667 §7; 1971 c.647 §109; 1971 c.727 §§139,197; 1973 c.618 §1; 1987 c.834 §1]

 

      478.060 [Amended by 1963 c.299 §2; repealed by 1971 c.647 §149 and by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.070 [Amended by 1961 c.549 §2; 1969 c.667 §8; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.080 [Amended by 1961 c.549 §3; 1969 c.667 §9; repealed by 1971 c.647 §149; 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.090 Effect of 1939 Act on districts then existing. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as impairing the legality or organization of any rural fire protection district existing on June 14, 1939, nor to exclude from such districts any lands then included therein, nor the legality of any act of such district done in accordance with the prior law, nor shall it be deemed to affect the legality of the election of any officer of any such existing rural fire protection district. Nor shall anything in this chapter be deemed in any way to affect any indebtedness or financial obligation lawfully created by any fire protection district existing on June 14, 1939, and such existing rural fire protection district is confirmed and for the purpose of continued and future operation shall be deemed as organized under the terms and conditions of this chapter and entitled to all benefits and clothed with all the rights, powers and duties as by this chapter provided.

 

      478.100 Immaterial defects in organization not to invalidate district organization. No final order of a county board establishing a district shall be set aside, or annulled upon appeal or review, on account of any defect or irregularity in the petition asking for organization of such district, or notice thereof, which does not materially affect the substantial rights of an interested party. The following irregularities are declared to be immaterial defects:

      (1) Errors of description of the intermediate points, courses or distances of the exterior boundaries of the proposed district set out in the petition for organization or as changed at the hearing by the county board, when the exterior boundaries can be otherwise definitely determined.

      (2) Errors in posting notices where it can be shown that all persons objecting to the proceedings had actual notice thereof prior to the hearing.

      (3) Errors in or omissions of the names of petitioners or number thereof, or in the percentage thereof of property owners in the district, required to sign the petition for organization, where there is entered upon the records of the county board an order or proclamation establishing or legally forming such district. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §10; 1975 c.326 §4]

 

      478.110 [Repealed by 1969 c.667 §70]

 

      478.115 County governing body to determine territory of district. Subject to the provisions of ORS 478.010, a county governing body may, under ORS 198.705 to 198.955, include in or exclude from a proposed district, or territory proposed to be annexed to a district, such territory as it determines. [1979 c.473 §2]

 

      478.120 Inclusion of forestland in district. The authority to include forestland within a rural fire protection district pursuant to ORS 478.010 (2)(c) applies to forestland within the exterior boundaries of an existing district and to forestland on which structures subject to damage by fire have been added after July 20, 1973. [1973 c.337 §3]

 

      478.130 Certain structures subject to fire damage to be added to tax rolls. Any land upon which structures subject to damage by fire have been built shall be added to the assessment roll for the tax year beginning July 1 following the calendar year in which construction on the structure was begun. [1973 c.337 §4; 1993 c.270 §68]

 

      478.140 Procedure for adding land to district by consent of owner. Any owner consenting to add the forestland of the owner to the district under ORS 478.010 (2)(c) shall do so on forms supplied by the Department of Revenue. The owner shall file the original with the district. The district shall forward a copy to the assessor of each county in which the land is located, within 20 days of receipt. [1973 c.337 §5]

 

      478.150 Conference with State Forestry Department required prior to formation of district or annexation of territory. Prior to the formation of any rural fire protection district or the annexation of any territory to an existing rural fire protection district of any territory within the exterior boundaries of a forest protection district established pursuant to ORS chapter 477, the petitioners of the proposed district or annexation shall confer with the State Forestry Department in determining the boundaries and lands to be included within the rural fire protection district. [1973 c.337 §6]

 

      478.155 Formation of district with tax zones; contents of formation petition and order creating district; determination of tax levy in each zone; boundary changes. (1) When formation of a district is proposed after October 15, 1983, the petition or order for formation may include, in addition to other information required under ORS 198.750 or 198.835:

      (a) A statement that the district shall be divided into a specified number of zones for the purpose of imposing and levying ad valorem taxes at different rates in each zone based upon differences in services provided by the district in each zone.

      (b) The boundaries of the proposed zones.

      (2) If an election on formation of the district is held, the county board shall order the questions of whether or not to form the district and, if the district is formed, whether or not to divide it into zones to be submitted to the voters as separate questions to be voted upon separately.

      (3) After an election on formation is held, if both the formation of the district and the division of the district into zones are approved by the voters, the order issued under ORS 198.820 (3) creating the district shall declare that the district contains zones with the boundaries specified in the petition or order for formation. If only formation of the district is approved by the voters, the order creating the district shall be issued as provided in ORS 198.820.

      (4) If the district is formed without an election, the order issued under ORS 198.820 (3) creating the district shall declare that the district contains zones with the boundaries specified in the petition or order for formation.

      (5) When a district containing zones is formed under this section, the first board of directors of the district, prior to the levy of any ad valorem taxes by the district, shall provide notice of a public hearing and conduct the hearing as provided in ORS 478.480 (2) and 478.485. After the public hearing required under this section, the board shall enter an order in its journal stating the percentage of the total amount of ad valorem taxes of the district that will be collected in each zone. The board may then determine, make and declare the ad valorem tax levy for each zone.

      (6) The boundaries of the zones and the percentages of taxes collected in each zone that are established for a district under this section shall be effective until the regular district election in the first odd-numbered year following the year in which the district is formed. At that regular district election, a proposal for changing the boundaries of the zones may be submitted to the voters of the district as provided in ORS 478.480 (2), 478.485 and 478.490. If no proposal for a boundary change is submitted, the boundaries of the zones established upon formation of the district shall be retained until notice of a change is given to, and approved by, the voters of the district as provided in ORS 478.480 (2), 478.485 and 478.490. [1983 c.569 §8]

 

      478.160 Filing of boundary or zone change with county assessor and Department of Revenue. For purposes of ad valorem taxation, a boundary or zone change must be filed in final approved form with the county assessor and the Department of Revenue as provided in ORS 308.225. [2001 c.138 §38]

 

POWERS AND DUTIES

 

      478.210 Directors; organization; term; oath. (1) The power and authority given to the district, except as otherwise provided, is vested in and shall be exercised by a board of five directors. Except as provided by subsection (3) of this section, the term of director is four years.

      (2) The board of directors shall fill any vacancy on the board as provided in ORS 198.320.

      (3) Within 10 days after receiving their certificates of election, the members of the first board of a district shall meet and organize by first taking and subscribing an oath of office. At the same meeting, the directors shall determine by lot the length of term each shall hold office. Of the members of the board first elected:

      (a) The terms of two directors shall expire June 30 next following the first regular district election; and

      (b) The terms of three members shall expire June 30 next following the second regular district election. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §11; 1971 c.727 §140; 1973 c.796 §67; 1975 c.647 §43; 1983 c.350 §283]

 

      478.215 Position numbers for director election. (1) Each office of director shall be designated by number as Position No. 1, Position No. 2 and so forth.

      (2) The secretary of a district shall assign a position number to each office on the board. The number so assigned shall be certified by the secretary to the director in office holding that position. A copy of the certification shall be filed in the records of the elections officer for the district. [1977 c.301 §4; 1983 c.350 §284]

 

      478.220 [Repealed by 1957 s.s. c.10 §6 (478.221 enacted in lieu of 478.220)]

 

      478.221 Nomination and election of directors. (1) Candidates for election from subdistricts created by ORS 478.225 shall be nominated by electors of the subdistricts. Candidates for election at large may be nominated by electors of subdistricts or by electors of the district, or any combination of such methods.

      (2) Subject to ORS 478.225, the directors may be elected in one of the following methods or a combination of both:

      (a) Elected by electors of subdistricts.

      (b) Elected at large by position number by the electors of the district. [1957 s.s. c.10 §7 (enacted in lieu of 478.220); 1969 c.667 §§13,66; 1969 c.669 §12; 1971 c.647 §111; 1973 c.796 §68; 1975 c.647 §44; 1979 c.364 §6; 1983 c.350 §285]

 

      478.225 Election subdistricts; petition for formation; election. (1) This section establishes the procedure for determining either of the following questions:

      (a) Whether subdistricts should be created in a district for the purpose of nominating or electing two or more directors.

      (b) Whether the method established in a district for nominating and electing directors should be changed to another method.

      (2) A question under this section shall be decided by election. The district board shall order an election when a petition is filed as provided in this section.

      (3) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the requirements for preparing, circulating and filing a petition under this section shall be as provided for an initiative petition in ORS 255.135 to 255.205.

      (4) If the question proposes creation of subdistricts or a change in the boundaries or the number of existing subdistricts, the following requirements shall apply:

      (a) The petition shall contain a map indicating the proposed subdistrict boundaries. The map shall be attached to the cover sheet of the petition and shall not exceed 14 inches by 17 inches in size.

      (b) Notwithstanding ORS 250.035, the statement summarizing the measure and its major effect in the ballot title shall not exceed 150 words.

      (c) The following apply to the statement summarizing the measure and its major effect in the ballot title:

      (A) The statement shall specify the method of nomination and election of directors from among the methods described in ORS 478.221.

      (B) The statement shall specify whether, in filling each position on the board, an elector of the district may sign a petition of nomination or vote for a candidate from any subdistrict or only for a candidate from the subdistrict in which the elector resides.

      (C) If the method for nominating directors combines nomination of candidates from and by subdistricts and nomination of candidates at large, the statement shall specify the number of candidates to be nominated in each manner. The statement shall include a general description of the proposed boundaries of the subdistricts, using streets and other generally recognized features.

      (d) The order calling the election shall contain a map of the proposed subdistrict boundaries and a metes and bounds or legal description of the proposed subdistrict boundaries. The map and description shall be prepared by the county surveyor or county assessor and shall reflect any adjustment made in the boundaries under subsection (7) of this section.

      (5) The map to be contained in the petition under subsection (4) of this section shall be prepared by the county surveyor or county assessor. The chief petitioners shall pay the county for the cost of preparing the map, as determined by the county surveyor or county assessor. The county clerk shall not accept the prospective petition for filing until the chief petitioners have paid the amount due.

      (6) Subsection (4) of this section does not apply if the question proposes abolition of all subdistricts.

      (7) If the district board determines or adjusts the boundaries of the subdistricts under ORS 478.228 before submitting the question under this section, the district board shall amend the ballot title as necessary to reflect its adjustment of the boundaries.

      (8) If the electors of the district approve the creation of subdistricts, or a change in the boundaries or the number of existing subdistricts, directors then holding office shall continue to serve until their terms of office expire. As vacancies occur, positions to be filled by nomination or election by subdistrict shall be filled by persons who reside within subdistricts which are not represented on the board. If more than one subdistrict is not represented on the board when a vacancy occurs, the subdistrict entitled to elect a director shall be decided by lot. [1979 c.364 §2; 1983 c.350 §286; 1995 c.79 §290; 1995 c.534 §18]

 

      478.228 Boundaries of subdistricts. The boundaries or proposed boundaries of election subdistricts proposed or established within a district under ORS 478.225 from which directors are to be nominated or elected shall be as nearly equal in population as is feasible according to the latest available federal census data and shall be adjusted by the board to apportion population, to follow wherever practicable existent election precinct boundaries and to reflect boundary changes of the district. The boundaries shall be determined or adjusted by the board prior to submitting the question of election subdistricts to the electors under ORS 478.225. [1979 c.364 §3; 1983 c.350 §287]

 

      478.230 [Amended by 1953 c.369 §2; 1967 c.609 §11; 1969 c.667 §14; repealed by 1971 c.647 §149]

 

      478.231 Election laws applicable. (1) ORS chapter 255 governs the following:

      (a) The nomination and election of directors.

      (b) The conduct of district elections.

      (2) The electors of a district may exercise the powers of the initiative and referendum regarding a district measure, in accordance with ORS 255.135 to 255.205. [1983 c.350 §289]

 

      478.232 [1979 c.364 §4; repealed by 1983 c.350 §331a]

 

      478.234 Subdistricts for nomination or election of directors. (1) The question whether subdistricts should be established for the purpose of nominating or electing one or more board members may be submitted at an election called under ORS 198.866 and 198.867, or at an election on merger or consolidation called under ORS 198.903.

      (2) The following provisions of ORS 478.225 (4) apply to an election on annexation, merger or consolidation when the question of establishing subdistricts is submitted at that election:

      (a) The requirements applicable to the ballot title.

      (b) The provision for a map of the proposed subdistrict boundaries. [1983 c.350 §286c]

 

      478.235 [1979 c.364 §5; repealed by 1983 c.350 §331a]

 

      478.240 Special elections; electors. (1) At any regular meeting, the district board may call a special election.

      (2) In any district in which there are no electors registered in the district and the property is used for business, industrial or farming purposes and is nonresidential in character, all owners of property located within the district may vote, and the authorized officer or representative of any corporation owning land in the district may vote for the corporation landowner. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §15; 1971 c.647 §112; 1973 c.618 §2; 1983 c.83 §96; 1983 c.350 §290]

 

      478.245 [1955 c.617 §1; repealed by 1969 c.325 §4 and 1969 c.667 §70]

 

      478.250 Meetings and officers of board. (1) The district board shall hold meetings at such time and place within the district as it determines. It shall hold at least one regular meeting in each month on a day fixed by the board, and may hold special meetings under such rules as it may make.

      (2) At the organizational meeting the board shall choose from the members a president, vice president, secretary and a treasurer. The board may choose as secretary and treasurer the same person. Officers shall hold their offices until the first regular meeting in July following or until their successors are elected and qualified. They shall have the powers and perform the duties usual in such cases. In the absence of the president, the vice president or, in the absence of both, any other member of the board may preside at any meeting.

      (3) The board shall transact all business pertinent to the establishment, equipment and maintenance of the district and its properties. [Amended by 1969 c.344 §7; 1969 c.345 §11; 1969 c.667 §§16,67; 1983 c.192 §1]

 

      478.260 Fire chief and assistants; headquarters; acquisition of site; fire and first-aid apparatus and equipment; emergency medical and ambulance services. (1) The district board shall select a fire chief qualified by actual experience as a firefighter and fire precautionist, or otherwise, and assistants, volunteer or otherwise, and fix their compensation. The fire chief shall be responsible for the equipment and properties of the district. Under the direction of the board, the fire chief shall be responsible for the conduct of the fire department.

      (2) The board, with advice and counsel of the fire chief, shall select the location of the fire house or houses or headquarters of the fire department of the district. Such sites shall be chosen with a view to the best service to the residents and properties of the whole district and may be acquired by purchase or exercise of the powers of eminent domain in the manner provided by ORS chapter 35. The board may purchase apparatus and equipment as needed by the district, and provide a water system, ponds or reservoirs for the storage of water for fire-fighting purposes. Or the board may contract with water companies or districts, or both, for water service and facilities at a rate of compensation mutually agreed upon. The board also may divide the district into zones or subdivisions and provide an adequate system or code of fire alarms or signals by telephone, bell, whistle, siren or other means of communication.

      (3) A district may operate or acquire and operate, or contract for the operation of, emergency medical service equipment and vehicles both within and without the boundaries of the district. A district may conduct ambulance operations only in conformance with a county plan adopted under ORS 682.062 for ambulance services and ambulance service areas and with rules of the Oregon Health Authority relating to such services and service areas. Service authorized under a county plan includes authorization for a district to provide ambulance services by intergovernmental agreement with any other unit of local government designated by the plan to provide ambulance services.

      (4) As used in this section, “ambulance services” has the meaning given that term in ORS 682.027. [Amended by 1953 c.369 §2; 1959 c.658 §1; 1967 c.348 §1; 1969 c.667 §17; 1973 c.192 §1; 1979 c.565 §1; 1981 c.538 §1; 1989 c.722 §1; 2009 c.595 §977]

 

      478.270 Reports of directors; State Fire Marshal to cooperate and furnish blank forms. (1) The district board shall report monthly to the State Fire Marshal, upon forms prescribed by the State Fire Marshal, information the State Fire Marshal may require, and shall, at any time, upon request furnish further report or information required by the State Fire Marshal.

      (2) The State Fire Marshal shall cooperate in the formation, operation and administration of districts. The State Fire Marshal shall prepare and make available uniform forms for reports required by this section and other uniform forms and blanks the State Fire Marshal considers advisable. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §18; 1983 c.192 §2]

 

      478.280 Employment of assistants. The board of directors may employ assistants as necessary or convenient in carrying on the work of the district and fix their compensation. The expenses of directors actually incurred in the service of the district may be paid by the board. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §19]

 

      478.290 Additional authority of districts within 10-mile radius of city of 100,000 or more. Districts situated within a radius of 10 miles of a city of over 100,000 population may, in addition to the powers granted by ORS 478.210, 478.221 and 478.240 to 478.280, install, maintain and operate systems of street, road or highway lights. The lights shall be maintained upon the streets, roads or intersections as the board considers is needed to furnish the best lighting service to the residents and properties in the district. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §20]

 

      478.300 Contracting with others to provide facilities and services for fire protection or road lighting; authority over open burning and fire permits; rules. (1) In addition to the authority to enter into intergovernmental agreements under ORS chapter 190, a rural fire protection district or other public body as defined in ORS 174.109 may contract with any person for the purpose of affording fire fighting, protection or prevention facilities or road-lighting facilities and services, or both, to such person.

      (2) When any agreement or contract is entered into pursuant to ORS chapter 190 or subsection (1) of this section to provide fire protection service, the rural fire protection district or other public body providing such service shall have authority over open burning and the issuance of fire permits in the area served, and may in accordance with this chapter make reasonable rules and regulations relating thereto. [Amended by 1965 c.602 §27; 1969 c.667 §21; 2003 c.802 §126]

 

      478.305 Contracting with others for mutual communication system; contracts in other states. (1) Any district may contract with other rural fire protection districts or cities operating a fire department for the establishment and maintenance of a mutual communication system for fire prevention and protection and may, in cooperation with the other contracting party or parties, provide for a joint board of control composed of representatives of the contracting parties, to control the operations of such communication system.

      (2) Any district any portion of whose boundary coincides with the boundary of this state may contract with any public agency of, or person in, an adjoining state for the purpose of receiving or furnishing fire protection or for the purpose of water supply for fire fighting. [1955 c.579 §1; 1969 c.667 §22]

 

      478.308 Contracting with others for regional oil and hazardous material emergency response team. (1) Any district may contract with another rural fire protection district, city or county to establish, operate and maintain a regional oil and hazardous material emergency response team. The contracting parties may provide for a joint board of control, composed of representatives of the contracting parties, to control the operation of the regional emergency response team.

      (2) A rural fire protection district may receive a grant under section 42, chapter 539, Oregon Laws 1987.

      (3) Any district whose boundary coincides with the boundary of this state may contract with a public agency or person in an adjoining state for the purpose of responding to spills or releases of oil and hazardous material.

      (4) As used in this section, “hazardous material,” “oil,” “person” and “spill or release” have the meaning established in ORS 466.605. [1987 c.539 §44]

 

      478.310 Response to fire or public safety incident outside its own territory by district or municipality; liability for costs. (1) When a fire or public safety incident occurs outside the limits of a district or of a city and help is asked of the district or city, the fire-fighting or public safety apparatus and force of the district or city may, with or without a contract to do so, be used for extinguishing the fire or responding to the public safety incident in the other unprotected or inadequately protected district or territory. However, the district or city so responding shall be paid the contract or reasonable value for use, including repairs and depreciation, of the apparatus and equipment so used and other expenses reasonably incurred in furnishing the fire-fighting or public safety service.

      (2) When a district or city responds to a call for assistance arising from an incident involving an airplane crash or an occurrence on a transportation route within the city or district, the district or city may recover from the person or property receiving the direct fire or safety services as a result of the incident any cost incurred for the following:

      (a) The contract or reasonable value of the use, including repairs and depreciation, of the apparatus and equipment used in accordance with a state standardized-costs schedule issued by the State Fire Marshal; and

      (b) Other expenses or costs reasonably incurred in furnishing the assistance, as adopted by the service provider.

      (3) As used in this section, “transportation route” means a roadway, waterway or railroad right of way against which no taxes or assessments for fire protection are levied by the district or city.

      (4) The provisions of this section do not apply to fire incidents involving only forest resources that occur on lands protected under ORS chapter 477. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §23; 1983 c.572 §1; 1987 c.834 §2; 1997 c.274 §38]

 

      478.315 Response to fire or public safety incident in Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area; payment of costs. (1) When a district is located entirely or partly within the boundaries of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area established under 16 U.S.C. 544 et seq., if a fire or other public safety incident occurs on state property within the limits of the district and assistance from the district is requested, the fire-fighting and emergency medical vehicles, apparatus and personnel of the district may, with or without a contract to do so, be used for extinguishing the fire or responding to the public safety incident. The district so responding shall recover from the state agency in possession or control of the property:

      (a) The amount due under a contract with the state agency for the services provided by the district; or

      (b) If there is no contract, the actual costs incurred by the district in extinguishing the fire or responding to the public safety incident.

      (2) When vehicles, apparatus and personnel are used under subsection (1) of this section, the state agency requesting assistance shall be liable and shall pay the amount due under the contract, if any, or the actual costs incurred by the district. A claim for such costs shall not be allowed unless, within 60 days after the costs have been incurred, an itemized statement of the actual costs, certified under oath by the treasurer of the district, and a demand for payment are served by mail or personal service upon the state agency. Such costs shall be payable from moneys made available to the state agency for such purpose.

      (3) If any such costs are not paid within 90 days after the itemized statement of actual costs and demand for payment are received by the state agency, the district may bring an action against the state agency for the recovery of such unpaid costs.

      (4) As used in this section, “state property” means any public land or other real property controlled by any agency of the State of Oregon and against which no taxes or assessments for fire protection are levied by a district.

      (5) The provisions of this section do not apply to fire incidents involving only forest resources that occur on lands protected under ORS chapter 477. [1989 c.395 §2; 1997 c.274 §39]

 

BENEFITS FOR DISTRICT EMPLOYEES

 

      478.325 District may levy taxes for purposes of ORS 478.335 to 478.370. Expenses incurred by a district in establishing programs or providing benefits authorized by ORS 478.335 to 478.370 are expenses for which a district may levy taxes as provided by ORS 478.410. [1963 c.366 §8]

 

      478.335 Contracts for medical and hospital services or insurance. (1) A district board may enter into contracts for medical and hospital services or insurance covering employees of the district for remedial care and hospital benefits. Failure to obtain insurance or service contracts shall not be construed as negligence or lack of diligence on the part of the board or the members thereof.

      (2) As used in this section “remedial care” includes services rendered by a person licensed to practice one or more of the healing arts within the scope of the license of the person or any other remedial care recognized under the law of this state. [1963 c.366 §1; 1969 c.667 §24]

 

      478.340 Payment of premiums or charges on contracts; employee contributions; multiple contracts. (1) The district may agree to pay none, part or all of the premiums or charges on insurance or service contracts, and it may collect from the salary of any employee covered by the contract the percentage of the premiums or charges the employee is required to provide pursuant to the contract. Contributions for premiums or charges by employees shall be only on a voluntary basis.

      (2) The board may negotiate more than one contract with one or more companies or associations if necessary to obtain optimum coverage at minimum cost.

      (3) No premium or other periodic charge on any insurance or service contract shall be paid unless the insurer or hospital association issuing such policy or contract is authorized to transact business as an insurance company or hospital association in this state. [1963 c.366 §2]

 

      478.355 Establishment of employee retirement system; provisions of plan. (1) A district may establish an employees’ retirement system pursuant to ORS 478.355 to 478.370. The board may enter into agreements necessary to establish the system and carry out the plan and may agree to modifications of such agreements from time to time.

      (2) The retirement plan may provide for retirement benefits measured on the basis of services rendered or to be rendered by an employee, either before or after the date on which such employee first becomes a member of the retirement plan. The retirement plan may provide for a minimum of years of service and a minimum and maximum age of retirement for the employee. [1963 c.366 §§3,4; 1969 c.667 §25]

 

      478.360 Fund to provide retirement benefits. The district may budget and provide for payment into the fund of the retirement plan an amount sufficient:

      (1) To provide, on an actuarial reserve basis, the amortized level premium cost of the retirement benefits which, under the provision of the retirement system, are to be provided by the district to its employees who attain the retirement age or retire in accordance with the terms of the retirement plan.

      (2) To meet the actuarially computed costs of retirement benefits measured on the basis of services rendered or to be rendered by an employee before or after the date on which such employee becomes a member of the retirement plan. [1963 c.366 §6]

 

      478.365 Employee contributions to retirement fund. The district may collect, as a contribution from any employee, that percentage of the salary received by the employee which is necessary to fund on an actuarial reserve basis the cost of retirement benefits which the employee is required to provide pursuant to the provisions of a retirement plan. [1963 c.366 §5]

 

      478.370 Retirement benefits not to be funded for individual not employee of district when membership in system created. Nothing in ORS 478.325 and 478.355 to 478.370 authorizes the district to budget, provide for payments or collect contributions to fund retirement benefits for an individual who is not in the employment of the district at the time of the creation of a membership status under a retirement plan. [1963 c.366 §7]

 

BENEFITS FOR DISTRICT VOLUNTEERS

 

      478.390 Investments authorized to fund length of service awards for volunteer firefighters. In addition to the investments authorized by ORS 294.035, the board of directors of a rural fire protection district organized under ORS chapter 478 may invest or cause to be invested any surplus funds of the district in contracts described in ORS 294.035 (3)(f) for the purpose of funding length of service awards for the volunteer firefighters of the district. [1993 c.452 §2; 1995 c.245 §13; 2005 c.443 §30]

 

      Note: 478.390 was enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but was not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 478 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.

 

REVENUES AND FINANCES

 

(Generally)

 

      478.410 Power of district to levy taxes, borrow money, sell bonds and create fees. (1) To provide funds for defraying expenses for the establishment, equipment and maintenance of the district, the district board may provide for a tax on the assessed value of all taxable property within the district.

      (2) To carry into effect any of the powers granted to the district, the district, when authorized by a majority of the voters voting at an election called for that purpose, may borrow money and sell and dispose of general obligation bonds. The total outstanding general obligation bonds, together with liabilities outstanding incurred under rental or lease-purchase agreements authorized by subsection (3) of this section, may not exceed one and one-fourth percent (0.0125) of the real market value of all taxable property within the district, computed in accordance with ORS 308.207.

      (3) The district board may enter into rental or lease-purchase agreements to rent, lease or acquire real or personal property, or both, required for fire-protection purposes. Except for agreements to rent, lease or acquire real property, an agreement may not run for more than 10 years or be subject to renewal. The aggregate principal obligations under the agreements, and under other like agreements, with outstanding bonded indebtedness, may not exceed the limitation imposed by subsection (2) of this section. ORS 294.305 to 294.520 do not affect or restrict the right of any district to enter into an agreement described in this subsection.

      (4) Unless expressly prohibited by the documents creating the district, a district board may adopt an ordinance as provided under ORS 198.510 to 198.600 to create a fee for any service provided by the district. A fee created under authority of this section may not exceed the cost to the district of providing the service. The fee authority granted to a board by this subsection is in addition to any authority granted to a board under local law or by the documents creating the district. Notwithstanding ORS 198.600, the failure to pay a fee created under authority of this section is not a violation punishable under ORS 198.600. [Amended by 1959 c.520 §1; 1963 c.9 §30; 1967 c.235 §1; 1969 c.667 §26; 1975 c.467 §1; 1981 c.804 §108; 1983 c.192 §3; 1991 c.459 §418; 2005 c.620 §1]

 

      478.420 Sale of bonds. Bonds authorized under ORS 478.410 shall be issued and sold in the manner prescribed in ORS chapter 287A. The bonds shall be so conditioned that the district agrees to pay, at the place named, to the bearer the sum named in lawful money of the United States with interest at the rate named, payable semiannually each year in accordance with the terms of interest coupons attached. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §27; 1969 c.694 §18; 1971 c.36 §7; 1975 c.642 §25; 1977 c.188 §6; 2001 c.215 §12; 2007 c.783 §208]

 

      478.430 Ad valorem tax. A district board shall ascertain and levy annually, in addition to all other taxes, an ad valorem tax on all the taxable property in the district, sufficient to pay the interest accruing and the principal maturing on the bonds promptly as they become due. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §28; 1969 c.694 §19; 1971 c.36 §8; 2001 c.215 §13]

 

      478.440 Gifts; sinking fund. The district may receive from any source whatever, gifts, donations, bequests, money or property for any purpose consistent with the terms of this chapter. The district may, from time to time, provide from its current revenue or create or set up sinking funds to be applied to authorized expenditures contemplated to be made beyond the current tax year. [Amended by 1983 c.740 §190]

 

      478.450 Tax for road lighting; method. To provide funds for defraying expenses for the installation, maintenance and operation of the road-lighting service to the district, the district board may provide for a tax not exceeding one-tenth of one percent (0.001) of the real market value of all taxable property within the district, computed in accordance with ORS 308.207. Upon approval of the majority of the electors voting at a special election called for such purpose the board may levy a special tax of not to exceed one-fourth of one percent (0.0025) of the real market value of all taxable property within the district for this purpose, computed in accordance with ORS 308.207. [Amended by 1967 c.293 §33; 1969 c.667 §29; 1991 c.459 §419]

 

      478.460 Deposit and disbursement of funds. Funds collected on behalf of the district through the levy of taxes, all donations, contributions, bequests or annuities and all borrowed money received by or on behalf of the district shall be deposited in one or more depositories, as defined in ORS 295.001, to be designated by the board. Funds shall be drawn out only upon proper order and warrant or check, bearing the signature of those persons authorized to sign warrants or checks by resolution of the board. [Amended by 1965 c.540 §1; 1969 c.667 §30; 1969 c.694 §20; 1971 c.36 §9; 1987 c.834 §3; 2001 c.215 §14]

 

      478.470 Interest on unpaid warrants; limitation on amount of warrants. All warrants for the payment of any indebtedness of a district which are unpaid for want of funds shall bear interest at a rate to be fixed by the district board but not to exceed six percent per annum from the date of the registering of the unpaid warrants with the county treasurer. The amount of warrants outstanding shall not exceed the revenue provided for the year in which the indebtedness was incurred. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §31]

 

(Tax Zones)

 

      478.480 Formation of tax zones; basis for zones; public hearing. (1) A district board may divide its district into zones for the purpose of imposing and levying ad valorem taxes at different rates on the assessed value of all taxable property in each zone. The establishment of zones within a district under this section shall be based upon differences in the services provided by the district to the residents and their property in each zone.

      (2) When a district board decides to divide the district into zones under subsection (1) of this section, it shall conduct a public hearing on the formation of the proposed zones. The hearing shall be held after notice to the public is published as provided in ORS 478.485. The notice shall set forth the date, hour and place of the hearing and the information required under ORS 478.485. The notice shall state that all interested persons may attend and shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard. [1983 c.569 §§2,3]

 

      478.485 Notice of public hearing. (1) The district board shall cause a notice of a public hearing relating to the formation of zones under ORS 478.480 (1) to be published once a week for two successive weeks in the newspaper in general circulation in the district which, in the judgment of the district board, will afford the best notice to the residents of the district.

      (2) The notice published under this section shall set forth:

      (a) The resolve of the district board to divide the district into zones.

      (b) The boundaries of the proposed zones.

      (c) The percentage of the total amount of ad valorem taxes of the district that will be collected in each zone. [1983 c.569 §4]

 

      478.490 Election on question of dividing district into tax zones; order creating zones; effect. (1) After the public hearing required under ORS 478.480 (2), if the district board decides to proceed with the proposal, it shall submit the question of dividing the district into zones to the voters of the district at the next regular district election on the date specified in ORS 255.335 (1).

      (2) If a majority of the voters of the district voting upon the question vote in favor of dividing the district into zones, the district board shall enter an order in its journal declaring that fact. The order shall be conclusive as to the regularity of all proceedings in reference to the election and to the existence of the zones. [1983 c.569 §5]

 

      478.495 Limitation on changes in tax zone boundaries. (1) When a proposal for dividing a district into zones is approved by the voters of a district, a proposal for changing the boundaries of the zones shall not be submitted to the voters at the regular district election next following such approval, but may be submitted at any regular district election thereafter.

      (2) Following approval of the formation of zones within a district by the voters of the district, the boundaries of the zones shall not be changed by the district board unless notice of that change is given to, and approved by, the voters of the district as provided in ORS 478.480 (2), 478.485 and 478.490. [1983 c.569 §6]

 

      478.500 Determination of tax levy in each tax zone. If a district is divided into zones under ORS 478.480 (1), the district board shall determine, make and declare the ad valorem tax levy for each zone when the district board adopts its budget for any fiscal year. The determination of the amount of ad valorem taxes to be levied in each zone shall be in accordance with the proposal approved by the voters under ORS 478.490 and shall be entered in the proper records of the district board. [1983 c.569 §7]

 

      478.505 Petition for tax zones by district electors; number of signatures required; public hearing. (1) The electors of a district may initiate proceedings to divide the district into zones under ORS 478.155 and 478.480 to 478.500 by filing a petition with the district board. The petition shall state the name of the district and contain a request that the district board divide the district into zones consisting of areas zoned for exclusive farm use, areas within urban growth boundaries and all other areas.

      (2) A petition filed under this section shall be signed by not less than 10 percent of the electors of the district.

      (3) When the district board receives a petition filed under this section, the district board shall hold a public hearing on the formation of the proposed zones, and provide notice thereof, as required by ORS 478.480 (2) and 478.485. [1993 c.424 §13]

 

      478.510 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §32; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.520 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §33; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.530 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §34; repealed by 1971 c.647 §149 and by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.540 [Amended by 1969 c.694 §21; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.550 [Repealed by 1969 c.667 §70]

 

      478.555 [1969 c.694 §23; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

(Multicounty Districts)

 

      478.560 Deposit and disbursement of funds of districts located in two or more counties. Funds accruing to a district, located in two or more counties, from any source shall be deposited in one or more depositories, as defined in ORS 295.001, whose deposits are insured pursuant to federal statute and shall be drawn out only upon proper order and warrant or check bearing the signature of those persons authorized to sign warrants or checks by resolution of the board. [Amended by 1965 c.540 §2; 1969 c.667 §35; 1969 c.694 §24; 1971 c.36 §10; 1971 c.727 §141; 1983 c.185 §1; 1987 c.834 §4; 2001 c.215 §15]

 

      478.610 [Amended by 1959 c.658 §2; 1963 c.299 §3; 1967 c.610 §1; 1969 c.79 §4; 1969 c.667 §36; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.614 [1953 c.165 §1; 1961 c.682 §1; 1969 c.667 §37; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.616 [1953 c.165 §2; 1969 c.667 §38; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.618 [1969 c.79 §6; 1969 c.667 §68; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.620 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §39; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.630 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §40; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.640 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §41; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.650 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §42; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.660 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §43; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

WITHDRAWAL OF TERRITORY

 

      478.665 Withdrawal of territory from district; inclusion in forest protection district; assessment. In addition to any other method of initiating proceedings to withdraw territory from a district, the county board may, after appropriate proceedings, order the withdrawal of forestland from a district if:

      (1) Written request for the withdrawal is submitted to the county board by the district board;

      (2) Inclusion of the withdrawn forestland within a forest protection district under ORS 477.205 to 477.281 is agreed to by the State Forester;

      (3) A public hearing for the landowners concerned is held regarding the withdrawal by the county board; and

      (4) Any lands so withdrawn and transferred to a forest protection district for purposes of fire protection shall be assessed for this purpose under ORS chapter 477 and, except as provided by ORS 198.880, shall no longer be assessed for fire protection by the rural fire protection district. [1969 c.651 §2; 1971 c.727 §142]

 

      478.700 [1965 c.316 §2; 1969 c.667 §44; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.710 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §45; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.720 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §46; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.730 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §47; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.740 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §48; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.750 [Amended by 1965 c.316 §4; 1969 c.667 §49; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.760 [1965 c.316 §3; 1969 c.667 §50; repealed by 2003 c.46 §54]

 

      478.810 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §51; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.820 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §52; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

      478.830 [Amended by 1969 c.667 §53; repealed by 1971 c.727 §203]

 

FIRE SAFETY SYSTEMS

 

      478.840 Definitions for ORS 478.845 to 478.875. As used in ORS 478.845 to 478.875:

      (1) “District” means a rural fire protection district organized under ORS chapter 478.

      (2) “Fire safety system” means any device or system that protects structures or people from damage, injury or destruction by fire or that minimizes the effects of fire. The term includes automatic fire sprinkler systems. [1995 c.725 §1]

 

      Note: 478.840 to 478.875 were enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but were not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 478 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.

 

      478.845 Revenue bonds authorized for fire safety systems. (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law or any restriction on indebtedness contained in a charter, a city or district may issue and sell revenue bonds under ORS 478.845 to 478.875, loan moneys to qualified persons for the installation of fire safety systems and enter into loan contracts with those persons. Moneys borrowed from the loan fund created by ORS 478.855 shall be repaid by the borrowers in accordance with the terms of the loan contract to which the borrower and the city or district are parties.

      (2) In addition to authority granted by other laws to issue revenue bonds, a city or district may sell revenue bonds for the purpose of creating a loan fund to finance the installation of fire safety systems in structures located within the city or district.

      (3) Revenue bonds authorized by this section may be issued from time to time and shall be issued as prescribed in ORS chapter 287A. [1995 c.725 §2; 2007 c.783 §209]

 

      Note: See note under 478.840.

 

      478.850 Sources of bond payment restricted. (1) Revenue bonds issued under ORS 478.845 to 478.875:

      (a) Shall not be payable from nor charged upon any fund other than the revenue pledged to the payment of the revenue bonds.

      (b) Shall not constitute a charge, lien or encumbrance, legal or equitable, upon any property of the city or district, except those moneys paid to the loan fund created by ORS 478.855.

      (2) No holder of such revenue bonds shall ever have the right to compel any exercise of the taxing power of a city or district to pay the bonds or the interest on the bonds, or to enforce payment of the bonds against any property of the city or district except those moneys pledged in the loan fund created under ORS 478.855.

      (3) A revenue bond issued under ORS 478.845 to 478.875 shall not constitute a debt of the city or district within the meaning of any statutory limitation. [1995 c.725 §4; 2007 c.783 §210]

 

      Note: See note under 478.840.

 

      478.855 Loan fund created from bond proceeds; other sources for fund. (1) Proceeds of revenue bonds issued and sold under ORS 478.845 to 478.875 that are to be used to fund loans to persons for acquisition and installation of fire safety systems in structures owned by the borrowers shall be deposited in a loan fund created for the purpose by a city or district.

      (2) In addition to proceeds from the sale of revenue bonds, the loan fund created by this section shall consist of:

      (a) Moneys repaid to the fund by borrowers who received loans from the fund.

      (b) Proceeds of the sales of structures acquired by the city or district as a result of loan defaults.

      (c) Other revenues, as defined in ORS 287A.001, as determined by the city or district. [1995 c.725 §7; 2007 c.783 §211]

 

      Note: See note under 478.840.

 

      478.860 Standards for eligibility for loans for fire safety systems. (1) The governing body of a city or district shall adopt standards to determine the eligibility of borrowers to borrow money from the loan fund established under ORS 478.855 for the purpose of acquiring and installing a fire safety system in a privately owned structure owned by the borrower.

      (2) The governing body of a city or district shall also adopt a list of fire safety systems that may be financed with loans made under ORS 478.845 to 478.875. [1995 c.725 §3]

 

      Note: See note under 478.840.

 

      478.865 Loan contract; repayment plan; terms and conditions. (1) Any loan contract providing for a loan of moneys to a borrower by a city or district shall include a plan for repayment by the borrower of moneys borrowed plus interest. The repayment plan:

      (a) Shall provide that the city or district obtain a lien on the structure in which a fire safety system is installed. Except for tax liens, the lien acquired by the city or district shall have priority over all other liens on the structure.

      (b) Shall provide for such other assurance of, and security for, repayment by the borrower as is considered necessary by the city or district.

      (c) Shall set forth the interest rate on the loan as reasonably determined by the city or district.

      (d) Shall provide for repayment during a period that shall be the lesser of the useful life of the proposed fire safety system or the term of the bond as determined by the city or district.

      (2) A loan contract under subsection (1) of this section may provide that the amount of repayment by a borrower include an amount sufficient to reimburse the city or district for the borrower’s allocable share of the costs of issuing revenue bonds under ORS 478.845 to 478.875 to finance the loan contract, all administrative expenses relating to the loan contract and such amounts as may be established by the city or district to maintain a reserve in the loan fund created under ORS 478.855 to pay or reimburse future losses directly related to the loans financed with moneys from the loan fund. [1995 c.725 §5]

 

      Note: See note under 478.840.

 

      478.870 Powers granted to enforce loan contracts and secure payment of bonds; reserve fund. In addition to any other powers granted by law, a city or district may:

      (1) Make all contracts, execute all instruments and do all things necessary or convenient for the exercise of the powers granted by ORS 478.845 to 478.875, or for the performance of its covenants or duties, or in order to secure the payment of its bonds;

      (2) Enter into and perform such contracts and agreements with borrowers as the city or district considers proper and feasible for or concerning the financing and installation of fire safety systems;

      (3) Enter into covenants for the benefit of bond owners regarding the use and expenditure of moneys in the loan fund created by ORS 478.855; and

      (4) Establish a reserve fund or account for the benefit of bond owners and provide that the reserve fund or account may be funded with bond proceeds, from moneys held in the general fund, an enterprise fund or other fund of the city or district or from such other revenues or sources as the governing body of the city or district may determine. [1995 c.725 §6]

 

      Note: See note under 478.840.

 

      478.875 Remedies for breach of loan contract. If a borrower fails to comply with a contract entered into under ORS 478.865, the city or district may seek appropriate legal remedies to secure any repayment due the loan fund created by ORS 478.855. [1995 c.725 §8]

 

      Note: See note under 478.840.

 

      478.880 Legislative findings. The Legislative Assembly finds and declares that:

      (1) The best interest of the state is served by providing financial incentives for the installation of fire safety systems in multifamily housing.

      (2) The design and nature of multifamily housing creates a higher fire risk than the risk to single family housing and exposes tenants to fire risks that are not within the control of the tenants.

      (3) The presence of fire safety systems helps to defray costs for fire district equipment and equipment maintenance.

      (4) Although the state building code allows local jurisdictions to require the installation of fire safety systems in new construction on a cost-neutral basis, there is no equivalent program for retrofitting or remodeling existing multifamily structures.

      (5) A fire safety incentive program serves the purpose of providing financial incentive for the installation of fire safety systems in existing multifamily housing. [2001 c.614 §1]

 

      Note: 478.880 and 478.885 were enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but were not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 478 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.

 

      478.885 Payment or repayment for cost of fire safety system installation in multifamily housing. (1) As used in this section:

      (a) “District” means a rural fire protection district organized pursuant to ORS chapter 478.

      (b) “Fire safety system” means a device or series of devices that protects structures from damage or destruction by fire, protects people from injury by fire or minimizes the effects of fire. “Fire safety system” includes, but is not limited to, automatic fire sprinkler systems.

      (c) “Multifamily housing” means a structure established primarily to provide residential spaces and that provides more than one living unit. “Multifamily housing” does not include nursing homes, adult foster homes, hospitals, motels or hotels, dormitories or state institutions.

      (d) “Owner” includes a purchaser under a recorded instrument of sale.

      (2) A district may, by ordinance, establish a program that pays or repays to landlords part of the costs of installing fire safety systems in multifamily housing existing within the district on the effective date of the ordinance. Except as provided in this subsection, the district may establish the parameters of the program. A payment or repayment rate under the program may not exceed 50 percent of the cost of installing the fire safety system. The payment or repayment amount available for a property may not exceed the total amount paid during the preceding 10 years for all property taxes on the property, less any payment or repayment amount already provided for fire safety system installation on the property. The program must provide for the owner of the multifamily housing to apply on a form approved by the district. The program must include a uniform process for the evaluation of an application submitted by the owner of the multifamily housing. The uniform process must provide for a public hearing to determine whether the property qualifies for payment or repayment by the district. [2001 c.614 §2]

 

      Note: See note under 478.880.

 

FIRE PREVENTION CODE; FIRE PERMITS

 

      478.910 Adoption of fire prevention code. A district board may, in accordance with ORS 198.510 to 198.600, adopt a fire prevention code. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §54; 1971 c.268 §19]

 

      478.920 Scope of fire prevention code. The fire prevention code may provide reasonable regulations relating to:

      (1) Prevention and suppression of fires.

      (2) Mobile fire apparatus means of approach to buildings and structures.

      (3) Providing fire-fighting water supplies and fire detection and suppression apparatus adequate for the protection of buildings and structures.

      (4) Storage and use of combustibles and explosives.

      (5) Construction, maintenance and regulation of fire escapes.

      (6) Means and adequacy of exit in case of fires and the regulation and maintenance of fire and life safety features in factories, asylums, hospitals, churches, schools, halls, theaters, amphitheaters, all buildings, except private residences, which are occupied for sleeping purposes, and all other places where large numbers of persons work, live or congregate from time to time for any purpose.

      (7) Requiring the issuance of permits by the fire chief of the district before burning trash or waste materials.

      (8) Providing for the inspection of premises by officers designated by the board of directors, and requiring the removal of fire hazards found on premises at such inspections. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §55; 1977 c.292 §1]

 

      478.924 Approval of code by city or county required. The provisions of a fire prevention code adopted by a district after October 4, 1977, shall not apply within any city or county within the district unless the governing body of the city or county approves the fire code by resolution. [1977 c.292 §5]

 

      478.927 Building permit review for fire prevention code. A district adopting a fire prevention code shall provide plan review at the agency of the city or county responsible for the issuance of building permits for the orderly administration of that portion of the fire prevention code that requires approval prior to the issuance of building permits. [1977 c.292 §4]

 

      478.930 Violation of code; failure to remove hazards; burning waste without permit prohibited. When a district has adopted a fire prevention code as provided in ORS 478.910:

      (1) No person shall violate the provisions of the code or fail to remove hazards found on inspection within the time set by the inspecting officer, after written notice to either the owner or occupant of the premises.

      (2) No person shall burn waste materials or trash in an unguarded manner without a permit, when a permit is required by the district code or this chapter. [Amended by 1969 c.667 §56]

 

      478.940 Copies of code to be filed with State Fire Marshal and posted at fire stations. Copies of the fire prevention code shall be filed with the State Fire Marshal’s office and a copy shall be posted at each fire station within the district.

 

      478.960 Burning of certain materials permitted only with permission of fire chief; damage or injury; burning schedules and restrictions. (1) No one, within the boundaries of a district, shall cause or permit to be initiated or maintained on one’s own property, or cause to be initiated or maintained on the property of another, any open burning of commercial waste, demolition material, domestic waste, industrial waste, land clearing debris or field burning without first securing permission from the fire chief of the district and complying with the direction of the fire chief. A deputy of a fire chief has the power to perform any act or duty of the fire chief under this section.

      (2) The fire chief shall prescribe conditions upon which permission is granted and which are necessary to be observed in setting the fire and preventing it from spreading and endangering life or property or endangering the air resources of this state. The Environmental Quality Commission shall notify the State Fire Marshal of the type of and time for burning to be allowed on each day under schedules adopted pursuant to ORS 468A.570 and ORS 468A.595. The State Fire Marshal shall cause all fire chiefs and their deputies in the affected area to be notified of the type and time for burning to be allowed on each day with updating messages each day as required. A fire chief or deputy shall grant permission only in accordance with the schedule of the Environmental Quality Commission but may reduce hours to be allowed for burning if necessary to prevent danger to life or property from fire. The State Fire Marshal may refuse, revoke or postpone permission when necessary in the judgment of the State Fire Marshal to prevent danger to life or property from fire, notwithstanding any determination by the fire chief.

      (3) Nothing in this section relieves a person starting a fire from responsibility for providing adequate protection to prevent injury or damage to the person or property of another. If such burning results in the escape of fire and injury or damage to the person or property of another, such escape and damage or injury constitutes prima facie evidence that the burning was not safe.

      (4) Within a district, no person shall, during the fire season declared under ORS 477.505, operate any equipment in forest harvesting or agricultural operations powered by an internal combustion engine on or within one-eighth of one mile of forestland unless each piece of equipment is provided with a fire extinguisher of sufficient size and capacity and with such other tools and fire-fighting equipment as may be reasonably required by the fire chief of the district. The provisions of this subsection do not apply to machinery regulated by ORS chapter 477.

      (5) No person shall dispose of any building or building wreckage within a district by fire without having first secured permission therefor from the fire chief. No person shall refuse to comply with any reasonable requirements of the fire chief as to the safeguarding of such fire from spreading.

      (6) This section is not intended to limit the authority of a district to adopt a fire prevention code as provided in ORS 478.910 to 478.940 or to issue permits when the burning is done by mechanical burners fired by liquefied petroleum gas.

      (7) The fire chief shall maintain records of all permits and the conditions thereof, if any, that are issued for field burning under this section and shall submit at such times, as the Environmental Quality Commission shall require such records or summaries thereof to the commission. The Environmental Quality Commission shall provide forms for the reports required under this subsection.

      (8) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section:

      (a) A permit is required for field burning authorized pursuant to ORS 468A.550 to 468A.620 and 468A.992.

      (b) For a permit for the propane flaming of mint stubble, the fire chief may only prescribe conditions necessary to prevent the spread of fire or to prevent endangering life or property and may refuse, revoke or postpone permission to conduct the propane flaming only when necessary to prevent danger to life or property from fire. [1955 c.469 §§1,2; 1959 c.363 §16; 1967 c.420 §1; 1967 c.438 §1; 1969 c.613 §3; 1969 c.667 §57; 1971 c.563 §9; 1973 c.832 §7b; 1975 c.635 §4; 1979 c.321 §1; 1989 c.615 §2; 1991 c.920 §22; 1997 c.274 §40; 1997 c.473 §6; 2009 c.790 §2]

 

      478.965 Recovery by district of costs of suppressing unlawful fire; attorney fees. (1) If the fire-fighting apparatus or personnel, or either of a district, are required to respond and be used actively or on a standby basis in connection with the extinguishment or control of a fire that has been started or allowed to spread in willful violation of ORS 478.960 (1) to (5), the person responsible therefor shall be liable to the district furnishing such apparatus or personnel, or both, for the actual costs incurred by the district in controlling, extinguishing or patrolling the fire. Such costs may be recovered in an action prosecuted in the name of the district. The court may award reasonable attorney fees to the district if the district prevails in an action under this section. The court may award reasonable attorney fees to a defendant who prevails in an action under this section if the court determines that the district had no objectively reasonable basis for asserting the claim or no reasonable basis for appealing an adverse decision of the trial court.

      (2) An itemized statement of the actual costs incurred by the district, certified under oath by the treasurer of the district, shall be accepted as prima facie evidence of such costs in the action authorized by this section. [1967 c.420 §6; 1969 c.667 §58; 1981 c.897 §55; 1995 c.696 §24]

 

DISTRICT IDENTIFICATION NAMES

 

      478.970 Purpose of district identification names. The purpose of ORS 478.970 to 478.982 is to establish an identification name for each district to be used for statistical purposes by the State Fire Marshal and in the process of insurance rating. ORS 478.970 to 478.982 do not alter or add to the corporate title or identification of a district organized or established by law. [1953 c.164 §1; 1969 c.667 §59; 2001 c.426 §2]

 

      478.972 Application by district to State Fire Marshal for identification name. (1) When a district is organized the first board shall notify the State Fire Marshal in writing of the identification name for the district.

      (2) Except as provided in this subsection, upon receipt of a written notice from the board, the State Fire Marshal shall immediately assign the district the identification name. The fire marshal shall notify the board in writing if the name conflicts with the name of another fire district in this state.

      (3) The district board shall notify the fire marshal as provided in subsection (1) of this section within 30 days after the act that completes the organization or establishment of the district. [1953 c.164 §2; 1969 c.667 §60; 2001 c.426 §3]

 

      478.974 [1953 c.164 §3; 1969 c.667 §61; repealed by 2001 c.426 §6]

 

      478.976 [1953 c.164 §4; repealed by 2001 c.426 §6]

 

      478.978 [1953 c.164 §5; 1969 c.667 §62; repealed by 2001 c.426 §6]

 

      478.980 Identification name for district formed by consolidation or merger of districts. In the event of a consolidation or merger of two or more districts, the consolidated board shall select a name for the surviving or successor district in the manner provided in ORS 478.972. [1953 c.164 §6; 1969 c.667 §63; 1971 c.727 §143; 2001 c.426 §4]

 

      478.982 Reuse of names of dissolved districts. In the event of a dissolution of a district, the name assigned to the district is available for assignment to another district. [1953 c.164 §7; 1969 c.667 §64; 2001 c.426 §5]

 

PENALTIES

 

      478.990 Penalties. (1) Violation of any provision of ORS 478.930 is a Class D violation. Each day’s refusal to remove fire hazards after notice by the inspecting officer to the owner of the premises where the hazard exists is a separate offense.

      (2) Burning without a permit required under ORS 478.960 (1) or in violation of a condition thereof is a misdemeanor.

      (3) Violation of ORS 478.960 (4) is a misdemeanor.

      (4) Subject to ORS 153.022 and 153.025, violation of any rule or regulation made by a rural fire protection district or other public body, as defined in ORS 174.109, pursuant to ORS 478.300 (2) is a misdemeanor. [Subsection (2) enacted as 1955 c.469 §3; subsection (3) enacted as 1965 c.602 §28; 1969 c.667 §65; 1971 c.563 §11; 1989 c.615 §4; 1999 c.1051 §188; 2003 c.802 §127]

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