Jul. 25—NORTH POWDER — North Powder's old fire station, dormant for almost two years, is coming back to life.
The former fire station is being transformed into North Powder's new city hall, offering a wealth of additional space and a building in far better condition.
The move from the former old city hall, about a block away, began earlier this month and should be completed by the end of this week.
Rick Lawyer, the city of North Powder's public works director, said moving city hall into the new building has involved a lot of work but it has been worth it.
"Anytime you can get a newer building with a lot more room it is a good thing," he said.
The move started after extensive renovations were completed at the fire hall, allowing its north section to be transformed into a reception and office work area. Its features include a mayor's office. The previous city hall building did not have enough space for one.
"It will be so nice to have a mayor's office," Beth Wendt, the city recorder, said.
Wendt said the new mayor's office will be a welcome addition because it will allow the mayor to speak privately with people in person and on the phone.
"This was impossible to do in the old city hall building," she said.
The larger building will also allow the North Powder City Council to conduct all of its meetings there. Previously, most city council meetings were conducted at North Powder's Wolf Creek Grange Hall. Wendt said the grange hall is an excellent meeting site but that conducting meetings there was difficult because of setup and takedown work that needed to be completed before and after every meeting.
The former fire hall, built in the mid-1970s, is in much better condition than North Powder's previous city hall building, which is much older.
The fire hall building has so much additional space that plans call for part of it to be converted in North Powder's new library, Wendt said. Presently, North Powder's library is next to its old city hall in a building that also is old and in poor condition.
Another plus of the more spacious building is that it will make it easier to practice social distancing protocols to be followed if there is ever a need for it because of COVID-19 or another contagious disease.
"Social distancing was hard to practice in the old building," Wendt said.
The old fire station building became available after a new fire station for North Powder was completed in 2020. The North Powder Rural Fire Department is not run by the city but is contracted by it to provide fire protection.
Dick Mason is a reporter with The Observer. Contact him at 541-624-6016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.