Local EMS agreements may change following proposal from City of Lewiston

L.C. VALLEY - Local Emergency Response Service agreements may be changing, following a proposal to the City of Clarkston from the City of Lewiston.

The EMS response service in the Valley has been a hot button issue for many officials over the years. Clarkston used to contract with Lewiston's ambulance service, before creating their own ambulance fleet a few years ago. While unincorporated areas around the Valley have chosen to work in conjunction with Lewiston, the Emergency Management Service in Clarkston has remained independent. However that could change based upon on offer from the City of Lewiston.

"Pretty much asking Clarkston City Council, are you willing to sit down and negotiate, a change in the service delivery model," said Lewiston Fire Chief Garry DeJong.

At Wednesday night's EMS Taskforce meeting DeJong and Lewiston City Councilman Dennis Orhtman spoke on behalf of the city and offered a proposal to the City of Clarkston.

"It would go to the city of Lewiston Fire Department providing EMS transport for the area including the City of Clarkston," said DeJong.

"It doesn't make any difference to us if at the beginning or at the end, every party says we're happy with what we've got right now and that's fine," said Orhtman. "And we walk away and know we tried everything that we could. Or if we say hey there's some real possibilities."

Details of the proposal were not released Wednesday night, however Orhtman said the City of Lewiston is drafting a letter to send to the Clarkston City Council. Clarkston Mayor Kathleen Warren said, while she won't speak on behalf of the Clarkston Council members, she's concerned because a similar proposal was brought to them three years ago.

"It was not well received by the council, many of whom are still on our council," said Warren.

Orhtman said they'd like a response from the City of Clarkston by November 16th.

"We have to be focused on the fact that we're trying to provide good care and safety," said Orhtman.

Mutual Aid discussions that will offer fire and rescue assistance between the local entities, hinges on the response from Clarkston.

The next EMS Taskforce meeting is scheduled for January 9th.