Editor’s note: The Courier will be profiling each of the challengers in the fire district recall election leading up to the April 23 vote.
Since the controversy began over a fire training facility planned at Evergreen Fire Station 2 in Bergen Park, resident Paul Peil has been involved in efforts to resolve the issue.
Now Peil has decided to run as one of four candidates in a recall election slated for April 23.
“My decision came when we were walking neighborhoods,” said Peil, who helped gather names on recall petitions. “People were upset about what was happening. There’s a lot of compassion out there about what’s going to happen to the community.
“My focus was health and safety, and it still is my focus,” he said.
While attending meetings of the Evergreen Fire Protection District board these past months, Peil has voiced concerns about the training facility site, which is near homes and a school.
“We want them to have a training building,” he said.
However, Peil’s concern has been about the smoke generated during live burn trainings the department is planning at the new facility.
“I got an e-mail from a 15-year-old boy with asthma saying, ‘Please don’t let them use smoke,’” Peil said.
He said he is also concerned about the building’s appearance. Even with the modifications the fire district has made to the original plan, it still will look like an industrial building, he said.
“Can we somehow compromise?” he asked. “There are so many options out there.”
“We have no issues with the volunteer firefighters,” Peil said. “There is no way we would hire paid staff.”
As a candidate to replace one of the four board members, Peil says he can bring skills he developed while working as a systems engineer for Lockheed Martin Space Systems for 35 years.
Working and communicating effectively with people is paramount, Peil said. Many of the skills Peil has learned came from Steve Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” he said.
“I grew up with this at Lockheed. … That’s where I’m coming from. My objective is to do this kind of stuff for the firefighters.”
Since moving to The Ridge at Hiwan, Peil has served for seven years as the architectural review committee chairman for the homeowner association. He also has been involved in defensible space mitigation in his community, and worked with Jefferson County Planning and Zoning, Roads and Bridges and Evergreen Fire/Rescue on road safety issues.
When his community was considering placing speed bumps on neighborhood roads, Peil said that he researched the plan and found that it would not be advisable from an emergency access standpoint.
“I was able to get back to the community and say, ‘No speed bumps,’ ” he said.
Peil holds an associate degree in industrial electronics and has continuously expanded his education during his engineering career. Now retired, he has worked the last 10 years of his professional career in systems engineering as development manager for several large-scale projects with as many as 300 specialists on staff.
In addition to his other community work, Peil has also worked with the Big Brother program in which he served as a mentor to youngsters.
“I care about people,” said Peil.
Peil is among four candidates challenging incumbent fire district board members George Kling, Charles Simons, Jeff DeDisse and David Christensen. Former board member Charles Dykeman recently resigned to move from the area. The fire district board will choose Dykeman’s replacement.
Contact Sandy Barnes at email@example.com or call 303-350-1042.