New Portland Fire Station 6
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New Portland Fire Station 6
New Portland Fire Station 6. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

With the recent devastating fire’s in the Highlands and in Portland, we decided now was a good time to take a look at some good fire-related news: a new Fire Station 6 set to open soon in Portland. Located on the corner of 25th Street and Griffiths Avenue, the new $1.9 million station replaces a historically butchered station on Portland Avenue dating to 1903.

The old station was once as grand and tall as any other old firehouse in the city, but, sometime in the 1960s, the top floors were chopped off and the entire thing re-clad in some of the ugliest brick imaginable. Today, the building is a low one-story box with a bronze plaque serving as the only reminder to its former days. There are currently no plans on the table for the old structure.

The new station attempts to regain some of the old charm and features brick and precast stone details reminiscent of the old neighborhood. The central third of the building also brings a necessary height to the structure to give it prominence. It’s unfortunate, though, that the building is only one-story. Two low wings fan out from the truck bay and fail to address the corner on which the building is situated. Gone apparently are the days of the fireman’s pole and the compact building footprint. We guess, though, they were casualties of modern codes and budget.

Portland’s new station was designed with a nod to the future as well as the past. Energy efficiency and the environment were major concerns in the new building’s design. Geothermal heating and pervious paving to help with rain runoff were included, as well as energy efficient light fixtures and appliances.

Overall, it’s nice to see an empty lot in Portland reused and a modern fire facility that can better serve the needs of the neighborhood. The new station is a huge improvement from the former station on Portland Avenue. The building was designed by Keyes Architects & Associates of Taylor Boulevard.

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