Passing a bond to build a new fire station.

Kittitas County Fire District 2 (Ellensburg, Washington)

Kittitas County Fire District 2, also known as Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue, tried three times over seven years to pass a bond to build a new fire station. In the fall of 2013, they hired us to assess what needed to be done. We provided the winning strategy, developed a communications plan and provided all support materials for the project. In the end, the fire district didn’t just win – it won big. When the last ballot was counted, our $6.7 million bond passed with almost 69% of the vote.

Reducing costs and improving service for EMS.

Franklin County Fire District 3 (Pasco, Washington)

Contract costs for Emergency Medical Service were more than Franklin County Fire District 3 could afford. As a result, the fire district hired us to run a levy to fund its own EMS program. This was a challenging project for two reasons. First, the neighboring city was concerned about losing contract revenue from the fire district. Second, a levy meant higher taxes for this conservative Eastern Washington community. We developed the plan, messaged it beautifully, and provided rapid-fire responses to any misinformation by the city. The measure passed with more than 63% of the vote and residents now have an EMS program that is more cost-effective and accountable to their needs.

Passing an excess levy in troubled economic times.

Maple Valley Fire and Life Safety (Maple Valley, Washington)

Like many fire agencies, Maple Valley Fire and Life Safety faced a significant revenue loss as property values plummeted during the worst economy since The Great Depression. The agency contacted us to help them run an excess Maintenance & Operations levy for $1.5 million. We provided the messaging and communications plan that resulted in a 64.3% Yes vote for this new tax. Emergency service levels were maintained and a medical aid car was put back in service for the benefit of local residents.

Building a coalition to maintain emergency services.

Eastside Firefighters (Issaquah, Washington)

A member of Eastside Fire and Rescue was threatening to leave the regional partnership and start its own fire department to secure a better financial deal from the organization. Local firefighters contacted us to help maintain the partnership and raise awareness for the issue with the public. We worked with local firefighters to organize a grassroots coalition and pressure policy makers to sign a seven-year contract to maintain the partnership and quality of fire and life safety services for all residents.

Rebuilding public trust to win at the ballot box. Twice.

Key Peninsula Fire Department (Lakebay, Washington)

The Key Peninsula Fire Department was in crisis. The community had voted down four EMS levies because of their anger with a dysfunctional Board of Fire Commissioners. The fire department was forced to dry dock the only ambulance it had, and issue layoff notices to emergency personnel. We came in, managed and messaged the crisis, then helped the fire department pass its next EMS levy by 88% within a year. Two years later, we developed the plan to pass an excess M&O levy for $800,000 to hire additional emergency personnel despite a troubled economy.

Overcoming adversity in a diverse community.

Woodburn School District (Woodburn, Oregon)

The Woodburn School District faced a difficult situation: how could it convince a largely retired, White community to fund schools where 85 percent of the student population was Hispanic or Russian? They hired us to develop a long-term communications strategy to help. Originally, the school district believed that not engaging the community helped protect and shelter students from racism and bigotry. We changed the organizational ethos, cracking it open to share the academic, personal and professional achievements of its diverse student body in today’s America.