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Oregon Ambulance Service turns over building and vehicles

The Oregon Ambulance Service's building and vehicles officially became the property of the Oregon Fire Protection District last week.

Fire Chief Don Heller said the ambulance service co-managers Jim and Betty Ferris turned over the building at 101 Madison St. and the two ambulances to the fire district board at a special meeting Aug. 12.

"We need to make some upgrades to the building and then we will move ATS [ATS Medical Services] down there," Heller said.

ATS, based in Loves Park, has kept an ambulance and crew at the Oregon Fire Station to answer the fire district's medical calls since July 1, two weeks after the Oregon Ambulance Service, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation, closed its doors due to financial reasons.

For the first two weeks, ambulance calls in the fire district were answered by neighboring fire districts, all of which have their own tax-supported ambulance services. 

Oregon is the only fire district in the area which does not include a tax-supported ambulance service.

The fire district board plans to hold a referendum in April 2015 to ask taxpayers to allow them to levy real estate taxes to support an ambulance service.

ATS has a 10-month contract with the fire district and will continue to provide ambulance service in the meantime.

Anyone who is transported in its ambulance will be billed by ATS, and the fire district will cover any shortfall associated with the cost of keeping the ATS ambulance and crew in town.

That can only be a short-term fix because the fire department's tax revenues were levied for fire protection, said Fire district attorney Brian O'Connor, Elburn in July.

The fire district, which is 120 square miles and bordered by 10 other fire districts, includes all of Oregon-Nashua Township and portions of Pine Creek, Pine Rock, White Rock, Rockvale, Marion, Grand Detour, and Taylor Townships.

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