By LANCE MASTERSON
Of the Keizertimes

It could be out with the old and in with the newer for the Keizer Fire District.

During its Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting, the board of directors authorized Fire Chief Jeff Cowan to negotiate the purchase of a 17-year-old ladder truck from Salem Fire.

The 1993 Pierce truck comes equipped with a 102-foot ladder reach, a fully enclosed cab and lifts up to 2,000 pounds in its basket, Cowan told the board.

Any purchase was capped at $70,000 by the board. This figure does not include an estimated $5,000 in related costs that would be incurred by KFD after delivery.

Though the truck will be striped with Keizer Fire District decals, it will remain red as an exterior paint job was deemed too expensive.

A 3-1 vote provided Cowan with the authority he needed to negotiate on the district’s behalf. Directors Joe Van Meter, Greg Ego and Mike Kurtz voted in favor of the motion while Greg Frank, a former Keizer fire chief, voted against it.

Frank requested the vote be delayed at least a month because he wanted to see a 10-year budget forecast before making a decision. Frank wanted to know what kind of impact the purchase would have on staffing numbers.

Van Meter acknowledged Frank’s concern, but said district residents will be better served with the new ladder truck.

The board’s fifth director, Mike Hart, was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

The purchase was approved by the district’s Apparatus and Capital Equipment Replacement Committee before going to the board.

A 2006 report states there are 15 locations within the district, including the McNary gym and Keizer Renaissance Inn, that are unreachable by the district’s current ladder truck, a 1984 Pirsch with a 75-foot ladder reach.

Cowan said the Pierce can reach all locations within the district.

Salem Fire will reportedly provide KFD with training for the ladder truck.

The truck could also be made available to Salem Fire when mutual aid is needed.

The offer is reportedly below market value. Cowan said it’s probable the district could keep the Pierce truck for five years, sell it and recoup its initial investment in the process.

Cowan said a fire district from Lakeview is interested in purchasing the 1984 Pirsch. He estimated its value at between $20,000 and $25,000.

The City of Salem ultimately will decide the cost of the 1993 Pierce. But Cowan said the $70,000 price tag was agreed upon by Salem Fire Chief Mike Niblock.

In other news from Tuesday’s board meeting:

• The City of Keizer and Keizer Fire Department reached an agreement that will allow the district to use a truck from the Public Works department to tow its new rehabilitation trailer.

• Keizer Fire District will hold a car seat clinic tomorrow (Saturday, June 19) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.