VRFA

Proposition 1 - November 7, 2023

Proposition 1, which will be on the November 7 ballot, will:

  • Build a new fire station - Station 36- in the northern portion of VRFA's service area
  • Relocate and rebuild Station 38 in Pacific near the Algona/Pacific border
  • Rebuild headquarters Station 31 on its current site
  • Build a firefighter training facility
  • Fund improvements to support services and maintenance facilities

The VRFA has not sought voter approval for capital facilities projects since 2008.

Two firefighters smiling in front of fire engine

Five Quick Facts about Proposition 1

1

Will improve the reliability of the VRFA by building modern stations that comply with current seismic, health, and safety standards. This will ensure we are able to respond when we are needed the most.

2

The last time the VRFA sought voter approval for capital facilities projects was 2008. The 2008 ballot measure did not address the projects funded by Prop 1.

3

Will improve the distribution of VRFA’s resources by building and relocating stations in our busiest areas. This means fire engines and aid units will be able to reach an additional twelve percent of our service area within 5 minutes.

4

It is estimated the cost will be $12 to $13 per month for the owner of a $450,000 home.

5

Improved distribution and reliability will result in improved response times for our entire service area.

Comprehensive Overview of Proposition 1


Proposition 1 is a comprehensive and data-driven approach to implementing the VRFA’s Capital Facilities Plan (CFP). Adopted by the VRFA’s Board of Governance in 2021, the CFP considers the location of 911 calls, current and projected population growth, and an assessment of the location and condition of our existing fire stations and support buildings. The projects funded by Prop 1 were determined after a multi-year process of thoughtful data analysis and the input of community members, VRFA staff, elected officials, and subject matter experts.

The VRFA Board approved this proposition to seek voter approval for the issuance of no more than $96.5 million of general obligation bonds maturing within 20 years.

Station 36 proposed area
Proposed Station 36 Location

810 30th St NE, Auburn, WA 98002

A map displaying the location of an industrial site with nearby Fire Department and Valley Regional Fire Authority resources.
Proposed Station 38 Location

205 5th Ave NW, Pacific, WA 98047

Prop 1 intends to improve services to all community members and residential and commercial properties located within the VRFA boundaries by strategically locating new fire stations to enhance community-wide response times and resource availability. In doing so, Prop 1 will replace aging, undersized, and unreliable buildings with contemporary, right-sized, and resilient buildings that will serve our communities for the next 50 years. Specifically, the measure will authorize the VRFA to construct a new fire station in the northern part of VRFA’s service area, relocate and rebuild Station 38 in Pacific just south of the Algona border, and rebuild VRFA’s Headquarters Station 31 in Auburn. Prop 1 will also provide funds for the VRFA to build a training facility and will fund improvements to VRFA’s Support Services and maintenance facilities.

  • Station 36, in the northern portion of VRFA’s service area, is an entirely new fire station and would be the VRFA’s sixth fire station.
  • Today, this busy and growing portion of the VRFA is served by Station 31.
  • Building on this property already owned by the VRFA will allow us to serve this growing area now and into the future, will reduce response times throughout the VRFA’s service area, and will keep Station 31 units available for other calls.
  • Station 36 will be staffed 24/7/365 by three firefighters.
Station 36 proposed area
Heat map of station 36 area
  • Relocating and rebuilding Station 38 to the Pacific-Algona boarder on property recently acquired by the VRFA will improve service to more of these communities, and will provide better access to Highway 167, West Valley Highway, and south Auburn.
  • The current Station 38, which was built in 1979 and shared with Pacific’s Police Department, is undersized and overcrowded, and does not meet modern seismic, health, and safety codes and standards for fire stations.
  • Station 38 will remain staffed 24/7/365 by three firefighters.
Overhead of station 38
Station 38 front view
  • Station 31, built in 1985, is undersized and overcrowded and does not meet modern seismic, health, and safety codes and standards for fire stations.
  • A new station on the existing Station 31 site will act both as a response fire station as well as headquarters for a majority of VRFA’s administrative staff.
  • The new Station 31 will continue to house a minimum of six firefighters 24/7/365 as well as approximately 30 support and administrative personnel, including our Fire Marshal’s Office, our public education staff, and our CARES social workers.
VRFA Station 31 front view
  • Today, VRFA does not have a fixed training site for our personnel. As a result, our firefighters travel to Kent or Renton to conduct most of their training.
  • A modern, multi-use training facility will allow our firefighters to stay within the VRFA to conduct their training.
  • Our Support Services and vehicle maintenance facilities do not meet our current or future needs. Prop 1 will provide funding to improve these critical facilities.
Station 35 doors

The Purpose of Proposition 1


  • When formed in 2007, the VRFA served a population of 75,000 and responded to 8,700 incidents. In 2022, the VRFA served a population of 97,000 and responded to nearly 16,000 calls for service. The consistent rise in call volume and population for the nine years between 2013 and 2022 can be seen in the graph to the right.
  • Prop 1 is intended to improve services to all community members and residential and commercial properties located within the VRFA boundaries by strategically locating new fire stations to enhance community-wide response times and resource availability.
  • Prop 1 will replace aging, undersized, and unreliable buildings with contemporary, right sized, and resilient buildings that will serve our communities for the next 50 years
  • The projects funded by Prop 1 will improve the VRFA’s level of service. Over the past decade, increasing calls for service have mirrored the real estate development and population increase seen throughout the Valley.
VRFA Calls vs Population chart
Female firefighter holding onto back of fire engine

The projects funded by Prop 1 will address these challenges, and benefit homeowners, in three ways:

Improved Distribution of Resources
Building a new fire station in the northern and busiest portion of VRFA’s response area, and relocating and rebuilding Station 38 in Pacific, will more evenly distribute VRFA’s response units. This, in turn, will allow VRFA units to reach more of our service area within our adopted response times and help keep VRFA units closer to their first-due areas. Funding for a training facility will also keep VRFA units in town instead of traveling to Kent or Renton to train.

Improved Response Times
This increased call volume has resulted in a steady increase in response times. Why? When fire units are committed to a 911 call and a second 911 call occurs in the same area, a fire unit from a different part of our response area may have to respond, resulting in a longer response time. For example, in the seven years between 2015 and 2021, response times to 90% of our calls increased by 53 seconds. Though seemingly small, an increase of nearly a minute can make an enormous difference in a life-threatening medical response or growing fire.

Improved Reliability
Building modern fire stations and support facilities in the proper location will help ensure that neighborhoods can continue to rely on the VRFA for timely and effective emergency response. Similarly, fire stations built to modern seismic, health, and safety codes and standards will not only keep our staff healthy but will also ensure that we’re able to respond when we’re needed the most. The current Stations 31 and 38, for example, were built in 1985 and 1979, respectively, and both have exceeded their projected lifespans and are not compliant with current building codes for fire stations. Finally, improved training, support, and maintenance facilities will help ensure that our firefighters and their equipment are properly trained, outfitted, and maintained.

An informational poster for Proposition 1 presented by Valley Regional Fire Authority.

Frequently Asked Questions


VRFA provides critical fire protection and life safety services services to 97,000 residents and businesses in a 37-square mile area comprised of the cities of Algona, Auburn, and Pacific, as well as King County.

Proposition 1, or “Prop 1”, will be on the November 7, 2023, general election ballot. The VRFA Board voted unanimously to approve this resolution at their July 11 meeting. The Board is comprised of nine members, including the Mayor and two City Council members from each of the partner cities of Algona, Auburn, and Pacific.

The VRFA Board approved this Proposition to seek voter approval for the issuance of no more than $96.5 million of general obligation bonds maturing within 20 years and levy annual property taxes to pay and retire such bonds. It is estimated the cost will be $12 to $13 per month for the owner of a $450,000 home.

No. This bond issue can only provide funds for new construction, renovation of existing facilities, technology, and purchase of apparatus and equipment. This plan will acquire land when necessary, build three fire stations, and provide funding for a training facility and improvements to VRFA’s Support Services and maintenance facilities for a total of no more than $96.5 million.

2008. The 2008 measure funded the remodel of Station 32 in southeast Auburn, the construction of Station 33 in Lakeland Hills, and the construction of Station 34 in Lea Hill. The 2008 ballot measure did not address the projects funded by Prop 1.

If the Proposition does not pass, the VRFA Board will consider the election results and determine a path forward.

In the meantime, response times will likely continue to increase as firefighters respond from inefficiently sited, overcrowded, and deteriorating fire stations.  This statement is based on projections from our county, our three cities, and the VRFA in relation to population and call volume.

The overall cost of completing VRFA’s Captial Facilities Plan will likely increase as construction labor and material costs increase over time.

Throughout its 17 years of existence, the VRFA has a strong record as a steward of public funds.  The Authority is audited annually by the Washington State Auditor and has received positive outcomes on every audit. The VRFA works with the region’s best public bond counsel and municipal finance experts to always seek the best approach to managing bond issues on capital projects. The public’s financial interest is always the top priority.

Information on Prop 1 is available by calling the VRFA at 253-288-5800, visiting our website at www.vrfa.org, sending us an email at AsktheVRFA@vrfa.org, and following us on Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor, and Instagram.

Prop 1 Request Form


Use the form below to submit questions regarding Proposition 1