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Fire & Emergency Medical Services 2020 Ballot Measure

Fire header image

Click the image below to watch as KING 5 News chats with Mayor Penny Sweet about the Fire & Emergency Medical Services 2020 Ballot Measure: 

Kirkland fire truck with text Kirkland voters asked to pay for more firefighters

New to the ballot measure? The following presentation narrated by Chief Joe Sanford will provide you with everything you need to know about the Fire & Emergency Medical Services 2020 Ballot Measure:

Ballot measure 2020 informational audio graphic

In the below series of informational videos, Chief Joe Sanford and other fire department leadership help break down the various facets of the 2020 ballot measure:  

In this first video, Fire Chief Joe Sanford gives a broad overview of the investments included in the November 3, 2020 ballot measure:

Chief Joe Sanford Ballot Video one

Click the image below to see how changes in home furnishings have impacted response times and firefighter/EMT health and safety over the last 30 years:

Kirkland Fire Chief Joe Sanford standing in front of aid car

In this next video, we look at how the ballot measure invests in future pandemic preparedness:

Chief Joe Sanford standing in front of Kirkland fire truck

In the below video, we explore how staffing investments improve response times: 

Fire Chief Joe Sanford standing in front of a Kirkland aid car

Click below to learn more about how station renovations improve Firefighter/EMT health and safety:

Chief Joe Sanford standing inside bay in front of Kirkland fire department aid car

In the below video, we share about how new Fire Station 27 improves response times:

Chief Joe Sanford at Fire Station 27 by aid car

Learn more about response times with Deputy Chief Dave Van Valkenburg:

Deputy Chief Dave Van Valkenburg standing in front of a Kirkland Fire truck

What investments are in the ballot measure and what will it cost?

The Council adopted Ordinance O-4731 at its July 21 Council meeting placing a $0.23513/$1,000 levy lid lift on the November 3 ballot. Using Kirkland’s assessed valuation (AV) in 2020, this levy would generate approximately $7.3 million dollars per year, dedicating roughly $3.7 million dollars per year to fund the construction of a new fire station, modernizing and seismically renovating existing fire stations, and roughly $3.6 million dollars per year dedicated to hiring additional firefighter/EMTs and staff.

This levy would have an annual impact of $171 per year for the median valued home, or just over $14.25 per month. According to the King County Assessor’s Office, the median valued home in Kirkland for 2020 is $730,000. To calculate the impact this measure would have on your home’s property taxes, please visit the King County Assessor’s Office tax tool. Once on the page, you may need to click the far-right tab labeled, “Tax” and input your home address. You will see the “Proposed Tax Changes” this measure’s tax rate has on your home’s assessed valuation. To the left of that window you will see a breakdown of your property’s 2019 property taxes and the additional impact of this levy.

The chart below lists the fire station and additional firefighter/EMT investments. Please click the image to view the information in PDF format. Below the chart is additional information about these investments. 

BALLOT MEASURE-fire-investmentschart

Firefighter/EMT Investments

This levy generates $3.6 million dollars per year for investments in additional firefighter/EMTs, maintenance, and operations. Specifically, it allows the Fire Department to acquire pandemic response equipment, including replenishing and stockpiling personal protection equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, gloves, gowns, and other resources. 

Fire fighter EMTs

fire fighters in gear

Currently, stations 21, 22, and 26 have three firefighter/EMTs, one engine, and one aid car. Station 26 also has a battalion chief that is shown in the darker red color. Stations 25 and 27 have four and six firefighter/EMTs respectively. Station 27 has seven firefighter/EMTs as it staffs an engine, two aid cars and has a crew of three dedicated to operating the ladder truck.
Cartoon-style image with Kirkland fire stations, firefighters and fire trucks

The levy would fun the hiring of twenty additional firefighter/EMTs. Once all twenty have been hired, and station 24 is complete, the new distribution of staffing will look like the image below. Each additional firefighter/EMT is shown with a blue box around them. The hiring of the twenty firefighters will take time to complete. There are only two firefighter/EMT academies each year and the City of Kirkland is limited by several factors on the number of new firefighter/EMTs that can be successfully hired, trained and evaluated at one time.
Cartoon image of Kirkland fire stations
Ten of these additional firefighter/EMTs would provide a dedicated aid car at station 22 in Houghton, the busiest station in the south half of the City. Of the remaining ten firefighter/EMTs, five would staff one position at the new station 24 in North Juanita, creating a fully cross-staffed crew of three, and the last five would provide a fourth firefighter/EMT at station 26 in Rose Hill. The department would also invest in replenishing and stockpiling personal protective equipment (PPE), to protect against a resurgence of COVID-19 in the winter or other types of outbreaks in the future.

In the section below there is more detail about the fire station investments. Stations 21, 22, and 26 would undergo extensive renovations similar to fire station 25 in 2018. These renovations would provide for greater seismic resilience, and improved levels of firefighter/EMT health and safety modernizations. Old station 27 would remain where it’s currently located and provide a hub for the replenished and stockpiled PPE, the reserve apparatus, one of the City’s fueling stations, and a potential quarantine facility as it has ten beds and would no longer be in service once a new station 27 is built. New station 27 would be built east of I-405 off of NE 132nd Street at the Evergreen Dental Building at 13118 121st Way NE. This new station would house eight firefighter/EMTs and provide the city with a second station east of I-405.

Fire Station Investments

Proposed in this ballot measure is $3.7 million dollars a year to be put toward the construction of new station 27 in Totem Lake, modernization and seismic renovations of station 22 in Houghton, 21 in Forbes Creek, 26 in N. Rose Hill, and a temporary fire station to house firefighter/EMTs while stations are renovated.

station 27 image
Fire station 27 is the City’s busiest fire station. It was built in the 1970s through a voter approved bond that passed in 1972. That same voter-approved bond also funded the replacement and relocation of station 25 from central Finn Hill to the current location at the corner of Juanita Drive and Holmes Point Drive.

future location 27This levy funds the construction of a new fire station 27 that houses eight firefighter/EMTs, two aid cars, an engine, and the ladder truck. It would also become the City’s second fire station East of I-405 (along with fire station 26). The property for new station 27 was purchased by the City in 2019 through an interfund loan and is located just north of Evergreen Hospital. This is a photo of the property. It is located at 13118 121st Way NE, Kirkland, WA 98034. The project is estimated to cost $28,500,000. 

station locationsThe picture to the left shows the location of current station 27 (top left corner) and the proposed site of new station 27, just North of Evergreen Hospital on the right-hand side, east of I-405. 

station 22Station 22 in Houghton, 21 in Forbes Creek, and 26 in N. Rose Hill require seismic renovations and modernization to improve firefighter/EMT health and safety as well as response times. Station 22 was built in the 1970s through a voter-approved bond in 1978 and serves the City’s south end including the new Kirkland Urban. This project is estimated at $9,600,000. 

BALLOT-Station21Station 21 (left) in Forbes Creek, and station 26 (left and down) in N. Rose hill were built in the 1990s with a voter-approved bond that passed in 1990. Both stations require similar updates to station 22 with seismic reinforcement and modernization to provide for firefighter/EMT health and safety upgrades and improved response times. Station 21 is estimated to cost $6,100,000 and Station 26 is estimated to cost $8,400,000.  


While 27 is built, the crew can remain at current station 27. While station 21 is renovated crew can respond out of station 26. However, while stations 22 and 26 are renovated, a temporary fire station is required to provide a safe level of service to the community. The temporary fire station would operate out of the Houghton Park and Ride and be there for nine months to a year. This project is estimated at $3,200,000.