Three large generators that could provide backup power to Brookings school facilities and the community in the event of a disaster arrived Wednesday.
Their arrival at the Brookings-Harbor School Districts bus barn was the result of a community effort that began nearly four months ago.
This is an excellent example of two important things community partnership and long-term planning, said District Superintendent Paul Prevenas.
The time may come when well be so thankful for this day; that well have these generators here when we need them, he said.
The Brookings-Harbor School Board recently gave the go-ahead to receive the generators, donated by Quest Corp. in Portland. The units are 100 kilowatt generators powered by diesel engines
In making the decision, board members and district officials pointed out that Brookings remote geographic location makes it vulnerable to power outages.
The Red Cross and Brookings Police Department were also in favor of obtaining the generators, which could be used to service the community at the high school facilities following a major disaster.
Obtaining the generators was a community effort that included Coos-Curry Electric Co-op, South Coast Lumber and the Port of Brookings Harbor. But Prevenas gave most of the credit to resident Larry Aslinger.
Larry is the hero here, he said. He was very persistent. He stayed on top of it for the benefit of the community.
Frank Cembellin was also given credit for helping Aslinger obtain the units. Both men belong to the school bond oversight committee and have been working closely with school officials on a variety of school construction projects.
Aslinger said he contacted Quest manager Harry Beck at the urging of Mike Murphy, emergency services coordinator for Curry County.
Murphy met with Aslinger during a Citizens for Emergency Preparedness meeting four months ago and suggested that Aslinger contact Quest about generators.
Quest was interested and promised to donate a used generator. The company sent three, Aslinger said.
He and Cembellin then spoke to Tom Cox, transportation manager for South Coast Lumber in Brookings, about getting the generators from Portland to Brookings.
Cox was more than happy to deliver the generators on an empty flatbed truck returning from Portland, Aslinger said. The truck was driven by Frank Wilson.
The Port of Brookings Harbor was next to jump in: Port Manager Russ Crabtree and Harbormaster Dan Thompson volunteered to unload the generators when they arrived.
On Wednesday, Thompson used a towmotor forklift to do the job.
Lauren Porsch, district manager for Coos-Curry Electric, inspected the generators, checking to see if they were compatible with the co-ops electrical system.
They look like theyre in great shape, Porsch said about the units. But, he added, he will need more information from the manufacturer of the generators to determine their compatibility.
While the generators were free, the cost of installing them is not. And since the units were not included in the $14 million school bond, the district will have to find the money elsewhere.
Structural engineer Buzz Hanson, a member of the school bond oversight committee, said Crabtree is trying to secure a grant, possibly from FEMA, to offset the cost of installing the generators, the wiring, auxiliary equipment and maintenance.
The cost to install and house the machines is estimated at $150,000, with approximately $80,000 paying for a building, Prevenas said.
It think thats a little on the high end and we can do it for less, he said.
Dick Bryant, the districts architect, suggested that the value of the three generators, about $25,000 each for a total of $75,000, could be used to match any grant money Crabtree might obtain.
Meanwhile, Cembellin is happy to get this far with the generators.
Weve saved a lot of money for the taxpayers, he said. And, in the case of an emergency, well have the power to feed and house a lot of people.