Ashland firefighters working out of Fire Station No. 2 will find a new home at the nearby Mountain View Cemetery office while their cramped station is replaced by a new building.

Ashland firefighters working out of Fire Station No. 2 will find a new home at the nearby Mountain View Cemetery office while their cramped station is replaced by a new building.

In May, voters approved up to $3 million in bonds to replace the station, a 2,388-square-foot building at 1860 Ashland St., across from the cemetery.

The new fire station will cover 10,000 square feet.

Temporarily relocating firefighters to the cemetery office building means that emergency response times on the southeast end of Ashland will remain largely unchanged.

"The biggest issue was to have a location with a comparable response time," Associate Planner Derek Severson said.

Ashland firefighters also serve as paramedics.

The proposal to relocate firefighters to the cemetery is going through a planning process that could wrap up in as little as three weeks. Changes to the cemetery office can be approved by planning department staff, Severson said.

The cemetery office on Normal Avenue near Ashland Street will receive interior changes and a garage door will be enlarged so a small fire engine can fit inside. A temporary cover will shelter an ambulance. Cemetery staff will move into a modular building during the time that firefighters are using the office, Severson said.

City officials want the firefighters and their equipment relocated before construction begins on the new building. There will be no interruption of emergency services, city officials said.

Construction is likely to start in late February or early March 2012 and will take about a year, officials said. Plans already have been approved.

The existing fire station is made of hollow, non-reinforced concrete block and would likely collapse in a major earthquake, city officials have said.

Ashland has two fire stations to cover the town.

In 1999, voters approved a $4 million bond measure to replace Fire Station No. 1 downtown, across from the Ashland library.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.