Incumbent says win shows people want new central fire station
Despite a vigorous challenge by Ken Doran, incumbent Darold Brandenburg won a third six-year term as commissioner for Okanogan County Fire District 6 in the Nov. 5 elections. As of Friday (Nov. 8), Brandenburg had received 1,490 votes to Doran’s 728 (67% to 33%).
During his campaign, Doran questioned the current commission’s decisions about a proposed new fire station in Winthrop. He said he would be willing to reconsider where to site the station, and how to reduce its cost.
The district plans to build a $4 million station on 5 acres it owns on Horizon Flats Road, according to the latest cost estimate.
Brandenburg has been an enthusiastic advocate of the new fire station. The main reason for increasing construction costs, he has said, has been inflation; voters had a chance to approve a similar station design in 2014 but rejected a levy that would have financed construction.
Commissioners anticipate putting another bond or a levy before voters in 2020.
“I believe the success of this campaign is a strong indication that the people of Fire District 6 are ready to get the new central fire station and training facility built,” Brandenburg said in a statement to the Methow Valley News.
In an interview on Tuesday (Nov. 12), Doran, a professional firefighter for the City of Bothell, said he wasn’t sure what the outcome of the commissioner’s race meant for the new station.
“Obviously, I don’t have a very good meter for predicting these sorts of things,” Doran said. “Having not passed [the previous levy], I thought people were looking for a change.”
After seeing the will of the voters, Doran added, he will “step back a little bit and watch as things go forward.”
“I congratulate Darold on a decisive win and wish him well going forward. I want the fire district to do well,” he said.
“I think there are a lot of challenges still ahead, and it’s going to take some diligent work to get through,” Doran added. He was referring to Winthrop’s environmental review of the new station, which includes improving Horizon Flats Road and controlling stormwater runoff.
The two campaigns attracted a significant amount of donations for a rural fire district. Brandenburg’s campaign raised $12,277, according to the Public Disclosure Commission — $3,103 from Brandenburg himself. Doran’s campaign reported $7,139 in contributions, including $5,577 from Ross and Marti Darling.