Long Lake sues Orono over emergency services, fire department usage

A longstanding disagreement between the City of Long Lake and the City of Orono has ascended into a lawsuit over the use of its fire department of emergency services.

A lawsuit filed by the City of Long Lake in Hennepin County District Court requests the court grant a preliminary injunction protecting the Long Lake Fire Department from a series of actions by Orono that are interfering with the department’s ability to provide emergency services for Long Lake, Orono, Minnetonka Beach and Medina.

"Orono has taken a series of hostile actions with the combined effect of attempting to dismantle the Long Lake Fire Department and gain control of at least one of our fire stations,’" said Long Lake Mayor Charlie Miner in the lawsuit affidavit. 

According to the lawsuit, the actions include Orono’s October 2022 purchase of a fire truck that Long Lake Fire Department was actively considering acquiring; Orono’s hiring of the Long Lake Fire Chief to lead a non-existent fire department; Orono’s attempt to get state legislators to move control of Long Lake Fire Department firefighters’ pensions to the City of Orono; and Orono council members publicly stating they are "prepared to take all of Long Lake’s firefighters."

A Long Lake Fire Department station located at 3770 Shoreline Drive in Orono, Minnesota.

The lawsuit states that Long Lake is seeking relief to "stop Orono’s concerted and blatant violations of a written contract for fire protection and a contract for joint ownership" of the Long Lake Fire Department.

The complaint argues that since September 2022, "Orono has systematically undermined Long Lake’s ability to meet its contractual obligations to furnish all firefighting services, rescue and medical services, and manage the ongoing operation" of the Long Lake Fire Department.

Long Lake is asking the court prohibit Orono from soliciting Long Lake firefighters to work for the Orono Fire Department or interfering with the work of Long Lake firefighters.

"If Orono attempts to take control of either of Long Lake Fire Department stations, it will directly impede the department’s ability to render fire protection and emergency services that Long Lake is obligated to provide pursuant to both the Contract for Fire Protection between Long Lake, Orono and Media, as well as the Fire Protection Contract between Long Lake and Minnetonka Beach," the Long Lake affidavit states.