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55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Pioneer Black Firefighters of Portland Proclamation and Scholarship

A group of Portland’s black firefighters recently came together with a mission: to recognize the black firefighters who came before them during Black History Month and beyond. On February 14, Portland City Council declared it “Pioneer Black Firefighters of Portland Month” in a special proclamation ceremony.

Recently, it was discovered that Portland’s first black firefighter joined PF&R ranks in 1890, a stunning development considering the exclusionary laws in place at the time. That man, Augustus "Gus" Waterford, served from 1890 – 1892. When it was revealed that Waterford was buried without a headstone in Lone Fir cemetery, Local 48, PF&R’s union, stepped up and generously funded a headstone for Waterford at block 16, plot 48. He now has a dedicated marker where none stood before.

But PF&R’s black firefighters wanted to do more to highlight Waterford’s legacy: they are working with Portland Community College to create a fire science scholarship in Waterford’s name to help others join the field.

On Feb. 14, Lt Ted Mayes and FF Sultan Shabazz discussed their plans in front of City Council. “It was a proud moment to see our firefighters following their passion to create something positive for the community – a new scholarship – to help more people access the rich history and endless potential that lies in a career in the fire service,” says Chief Mike Myers.

Beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, the Portland Community College Foundation will award the first Gus Waterford Memorial Scholarship to a first-generation college student studying Fire Protection Technology at PCC. This scholarship will ensure that Gus Waterford’s legacy will live on. You can find out more about it here:

Fall Awards Ceremony Brings Honors

Congratulations to all who were highlighted for exemplary work

Congratulations to all who were honored at our Fall Awards Ceremony last week.

Photos can be downloaded at:

Letter of Appreciation: FF Jason Herman, FF Isaac Yanez

Letter of Appreciation: Lt. Aspen Breuer

Letter of Appreciation: Captain Chris Barney, Captain Tom Walsh, Lt. Rob Root, Lt. Rich Tyler

Letter of Appreciation: Lt. Kevin O’Neil, FF Mark Fortin, FF Patrick Scott, FF Aaron Waldier

Letter of Recognition: John Budke and Murrell Morley

Letter of Commendation: Captain TJ Lehnertz, Lt. Thomas Chipps Lt. Shon Christensen, Lt. Damon Simmons, FF Jesse Hellwege, FF Michael Schultz, FF Kurt Smith, FF Rick Strubelt, FF Adam Troupe, FF Charles West

Certificate of Merit: Joseph Marshall

Certificate of Merit: Ryan Stueur

Certificate of Merit: Gabriella Knott and Dr. Amy Marr

Certificate of Merit: John Lacey

Certificate of Merit: Officer Kyle Hefley

Certificate of Merit: Officer Joseph Cox and Plamen Petrov

Certificate of Merit: Rheece Kahawai

Ribbon of Merit: Captain Greg Wong

Ribbon of Merit: FF Loren Renhard

Fire Chief’s Certificate: Deputy Chief Sara Boone, Vehicle Maintenance Supervisor Gordon Williams

Fire Chief’s Certificate: Station 28 Cadet Program

Unit Commendation: Lt. Ryan Sutton, FF Brian Dundon, FF Paul Morales, FF Patrick Scott

Certificate of Merit: Mlali Sharp

Bronze Medal of Valor: Inspector Jason Sharp

Silver Medal of Valor: Captain Lee Etten and FF AJ Schafer