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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

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Phone: 503-823-3700

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55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Portland Fire & Rescue launches new program to address health and social needs of individuals calling 9-1-1 for non-emergent health concerns

CareOregon invests $2.5 million to build program capacity so it can serve Oregon Health Plan members

PORTLAND, Ore. (Oct. 13, 2021)—Today, Portland Fire & Rescue received approval from City Council to launch a new community health program to address the health and social needs of community members calling 9-1-1 for non-emergent issues. PF&R is working toward launching the program in mid-November.

As first responders, firefighters are often the first to interact with a person who has dialed 9-1-1 for medical reasons. About a third of these calls are for issues that don’t require hospitalization or a trip to the emergency room.

 “Since I have become Fire Chief one of my main objectives is that Portland Fire & Rescue evolves from a place of emergency response alone, to one where preventative community health becomes a fundamental part of our overall mission,” said Portland Fire & Rescue’s Chief Boone. “Up until now we haven’t had a mechanism to allow us to spend the time needed to assess and treat community members on scene, and connect them with appropriate care and resources they need. We’re launching the Community Health Assess & Treat program to fill this pivotal gap. We believe that this program will help us better serve the community, improve the health outcomes of our community members and make use of limited emergency resources.”

The Community Health Assess & Treat (CHAT) program is designed to be a proactive intervention, reaching community members in their time of need with 1-on-1 support from a medical professional. CHAT will leverage the strengths of PF&R—the city’s largest licensed pre-hospital care workforce—to:

  • Provide individuals who call 9-1-1 for non-emergent health issues the care they need in the moment and connect them to the right resources to get them on the path to health improvement (e.g. connected to a Primary Care Physician, enrolled on Oregon Health Plan, etc.).
  • Provide education to community members regarding how to access appropriate healthcare in the future—so they use 9-1-1 as a last resort, instead of their first option.
  • Help reduce the number of individuals going to the emergency department for non-emergent issues.

“I am proud to support Portland Fire & Rescue as we enter into a partnership to create ‘Community Health Assess & Treat’ teams,” said Commissioner Hardesty. “Chief Boone eloquently set a vision of community health when she took the helm of the bureau, and I couldn’t be more excited to see that vision realized as we enter into this continued work that will help meet the health needs of our communities where they are at. We are truly innovating and building a new model that Portland can be proud of.”

Local healthcare non-profit, CareOregon is investing $2.5 million in PF&R’s CHAT program to build its capacity to best serve those eligible for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). 

“CareOregon has been working for decades to find ways to help individuals access the care they need in the right setting,” said Eric C. Hunter, CareOregon CEO, “because we know that accessing preventative healthcare saves lives. We believe that this partnership with Portland Fire & Rescue is an opportunity to work upstream and help connect Oregon Health Plan members with ‘in the moment care’ and health education, so they can be better connected to the healthcare system and get the support they need.”

“We are excited about this historic partnership with CareOregon,” said Chief Boone. “Portland Fire & Rescue and CareOregon share a common commitment to health equity and a vision for creating a community where all of our neighbors have, and understand how to access, the health and social service supports they need to live healthy, productive lives.”

“We believe the first interaction we have with a community member who has called 9-1-1 may change the trajectory of their overall health, truly getting them the right care at the right time,” said Chief Boone.

CHAT is part of a larger effort to address community health and social equity issues in our region. It will be housed under PF&R’s new Community Health Division, alongside Portland Street Response and Community Connect.  

About CareOregon

For more than 25 years, CareOregon has offered health services and community benefit programs to Oregon Health Plan members. Today, we support the needs of more than 500,000 Oregonians through three coordinated care organizations, a Medicare Advantage plan, a Tribal Care Coordination program, a dental care organization and in-home medical care with Housecall Providers. CareOregon members have access to integrated physical, dental and mental health care and substance use treatment. We believe that good health requires more than clinics and hospitals, so we also connect members to housing, fresh food, education and transportation services. CareOregon is a mission-driven, community-based nonprofit with offices in Portland, Medford and Seaside, Oregon.

Press Kit

Video of Chief Boone on CHAT

Commissioner Hardesty on CHAT


2 PF&R Firefighters suffer minor injuries at 3-Alarm fire in SE Portland

4 businesses are total losses as fire burns through block in inner SEAt noon on. Tuesday, October 5th, 2021, Portland Fire and Rescue was dispatched to SE 13TH Ave and SE Hawthorne Blvd on the report of black smoke coming from a building. When the first crews arrived they found heavy black smoke coming from a large roll up door. Within a short amount of time, the fire broke through the windows and the roof of the building and became a very fast moving, large fire. Second and third alarms were qu

At noon on Tuesday, October 5th, 2021, Portland Fire and Rescue was dispatched to SE 13TH Ave and SE Hawthorne Blvd on the report of black smoke coming from a building. When the first crews arrived they found heavy black smoke coming from a large roll up door. Within a short amount of time, the fire broke through the windows and the roof of the building and became a very fast moving, large fire. Second and third alarms were quickly called to bring sufficient resources to the scene. At one point, a smoke explosion injured two firefighters who were fighting the fire from the outside of the building. One firefighter was transported to the hospital during the incident and the second was taken to the hospital after the fire had been knocked down. Both firefighters have minor injuries and are expected to be released from the hospital today. No other injuries were reported. 

There were four business located in this building. The fire spread to the entire building and most of the roof is now collapsed. Fire crews are still on scene attempting to extinguish hot spots and they will likely be there throughout the night. Fire investigators are also on scene working to determine the cause of the fire.

Burn Ban Lifted September 27, 2021

Fire Defense Board Chief Scott Lewis has lifted the outdoor burn ban in all areas of Multnomah County.

The burn ban is lifted due to the recent rainfall and moderate temperatures, which has improved the moisture content of the local ground cover.

Recreational campfires, fire pits and agricultural burning is now permitted on DEQ-approved burn days.

Yard debris and open burning is still not permitted; the usual start date for these is on or around Oct. 1.

Check with your local fire department/district for more information. For updated information, call the burning information line at:

·         503-618-3083 for Gresham, Troutdale, Wood Village, Fairview, Fire District 1

·         503-695-2225 for Corbett Fire District 14 

·         503-621-1242 for Sauvie Island District 30

·         General Information for Portland Fire & Rescue, 503-823-3700



Due to unusually hot temperatures and dry conditions, PF&R is announcing an immediate ban on the use of all legal and illegal fireworks. This difficult decision has been made recognizing that it will have a serious impact to those businesses dependent on the sale of fireworks and many of us who had plans to include fireworks with our July 4th 2021 celebration. PF&R Chief Sara Boone, along with her command staff and Commissioner-in-charge, Jo Ann Hardesty, carefully examined the impact recent weather conditions have had on our city and concluded that a ban on fire works is the right thing to do for the protection of our residents.

“If we don’t take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating” said Chief Boone. “It is not easy to make a decision like this so close to our national holiday but as Fire Chief I feel I have a higher responsibility to sometimes make unpopular decisions during unprecedented times to protect life, property and the environment.”

Please do not call 911 to report fireworks use! It is very important that our 911 system be kept for reporting only active fires and serious medical problems. Your cooperation with this will save lives!

Fire Investigators will not be patrolling for fireworks use but are sending a strong warning that they will be INVESTIGATING ALL FIRES THAT HAVE A CONNECTION TO FIREWORKS. If your firework use is found as a cause, you will be held responsible. Fireworks use that causes injury or extensive damage can result in heavy fines and/or jail time.

Fire Marshal Permit Office Closure

Due to extreme heat, the Portland Fire Marshal’s Permit Office will be closed today, Monday, June 28, 2021.  We will return to our COVID-19 modified hours, Tuesday, June 29, 2021. We apologize for any inconvenience.