Cascadia resident named to fill vacancy on SHFAD board

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

The Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District Board of Directors has appointed Dawn Mitchell to represent the Cascadia area.

The board selected Mitchell during its regular meeting on April 18. Three persons applied for the position, including Mitchell, Larry Johnson and Kevin Webster.

SHFAD Board President Don Hopkins noted that Mitchell has lived in the Foster and Cascadia area for many years.

“She was real interested in getting involved in the community, and she would be representing the Cascadia area,” Hopkins aid. “The board’s philosophy since its inception was to go ahead and use geographical representation.”

Mitchell fills a seat left vacant by another Cascadia resident, Brian McClellan, who was elected last fall but attended only one meeting.

Mitchell grew up in the other Husky territory, around North Marion, she said.

“Friends that did grow up down here brought us down to the area for recreation,” she said.

When she and her husband were able to, they bought property on High Deck Road about 10 years ago. They moved in about eight years ago.

She is a broker at Sweet Home Real Estate, where she has worked since January 2005, Mitchell said. Prior to that, she was a bookkeeper for Triple T for five years.

She has been married to Michael Mitchell, an electrician with Whiskey Hill Electric, for almost 18 years. They have two children, Samantha, 4, and C.J., 6.

Mitchell and her husband were involved in the talks with district officials about building a substation and getting volunteers to man it, she said. They are not in a position to be volunteer firefighters right now, but serving on the board is making good on that promise (from Cascadia residents) to serve the fire department, she said.

“It’s really great that the fire district has an interest up there and wants to be a part of the area,” Mitchell said. As a board member, she said, she would like to get more people involved in Cascadia, something that has been a challenge since the incorporation of Cascadia into the district some five years ago.

The long distances involved in responding from Sweet Home to fires in Cascadia drove the construction of the new Cascadia substation, and “that’s why I was really excited the fire department was coming up there and put the substation up there,” Mitchell said. She would like to keep at least one person in Cascadia ready to respond first to area fires, especially during fire season.

“Fire season has a bigger meaning up there,” Mitchell said of Cascadia, which is surrounded by forest.

Among challenges she expects are getting more Cascadia residents involved in the department. She also looks forward to learning more and helping make everything work.

“You’ve got to learn the ropes to understand what you’re talking about,” Mitchell said. She said this is the first time she has been involved with a fire or ambulance district.

In her spare time, she enjoys being with her children, hunting and fishing. She and her husband both enjoy racing, although she has not raced in recent years. They both enjoy racing at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon.