Banks Fire Chief Rodney Linz and Banks Fire District board members start the ceremonial groundbreaking. Photo: Banks Fire District 13

BUXTON - Banks Fire District 13 board members, fire chief Rodney Linz, and other community members and those involved in the district turned the first few ceremonial shovels of dirt at the future home of the Hornshuh Creek Station, located along Highway 26 in Buxton on Wednesday, October 9.

The land the building will sit on — located between Fischer Road and the Oregon Department of Transportation property in Manning — was donated by the Horshuh family, who agreed to donate the land on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in honor of their parents, Carol and Fred Hornshuh, staunch supporters of the district. 

Fred Hornshuh served on the Banks Fire District Budget Committee, and their son, Captain Mark Hornshuh, has been a firefighter and paramedic with the Banks Fire District since 1988, according to a press release. 

In a May 2018 press release, fire chief Rodney Linz praised the Horshuh family for the land donation for the station.

“Banks Fire appreciates all the Hornshuh family has done and continues to do for our community. It is a wonderful donation and we are excited to name the station Hornshuh Creek Station to honor such a great family heritage,” Linz said.

Plans to build the station were made possible after voters within the 136 square mile Banks Fire District #13 passed a bond in 2017 to fund a replacement for the existing station located in the heart of old Buxton, which was a small two-bay concrete block garage built in 1964.

Banks Fire District #13 has stations in Banks, Buxton, and Timber, and provides fire and rescue service to those communities as well as in Manning, Hayward, and other small unincorporated rural communities west and north of Banks. 

The region where the new station is being built, northwest of Banks, including Highways 26 and 47, is the source of a large number of service calls to the district – driven in large part by an increase in traffic, and crashes on the roads.

In an 11 day period in March 2018, four people were killed in three separate crashes on Highways 26 and 47 between Vernonia and Manning.

According to data pulled from Oregon Department of Transportation records, traffic on Highway 26 near the Timber Junction was counted at an Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) of 4150 vehicles in 1986, the oldest year that data was available. In 2016, daily traffic was counted at 8171 vehicles daily on average – a 96.9% increase in traffic in 30 years.

The Hornshuh Creek Station, which is being built by local Banks company Five Star Builders, is planned to include a large bay to house fire vehicles and equipment, a training room, crew quarters, and offices. On site, a helicopter pad and extensive training grounds are also being planned. 

The fire district plans to be able to use the new facility — slated to see action by the summer of 2020 — as a staging ground for and a command center for multi-agency responses during large area emergencies, which, in the past, have included multi-vehicle fatal crashes, wildfires and more.