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The City of Portland, Oregon

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Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Firehouse Recipe of the Week: Barbecued Meat Loaf

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Barbecued Meat Loaf 



  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 (1/2-ounce) slice white bread
  • ½ cup 1 % low fat milk
  • 1 cup minced fresh onion
  • ½ cup finely diced carrot
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ pounds ground sirloin
  • ½ pound lean ground pork
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Place bread in a food processor; process until finely ground.
  4. Combine bread and milk in a large bowl.
  5. Add ½ cup ketchup mixture, onion, and next 9 ingredients; stir until will blended.
  6. Place beef mixture in an 8 x 4—inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
  7. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.
  8. Brush remaining ketchup mixture over top.
  9. Bake an additional 15 minutes.
  10. Let stand 10 minutes.
  11. Remove meat loaf from pan.
  12. Cut into 8 slices.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 slice). 

257 calories, 9.5g fat, 28.9g protein, 13.8 carb, 591mg sodium


  Portland Fire & Rescue 

  We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

  January 12, 2011 


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NEWS RELEASE 01/13/11: Family's Fire Escape Plan Saves Lives of Mom and Kids During SE Portland Residential Fire

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January 13, 2011

1:33 pm

Practicing fire safety paid off for a SE Portland family last night.  Two girls, ages 6 and 9, were playing in their upstairs bedroom around 5:00 pm on Wednesday when they heard the home's smoke alarm go off.  What they did next likely saved their lives in the fast moving fire that swept through the first floor of the home.  

The girls remembered to check the door knob to see if it was warm before opening their bedroom door.  The knob was warm – indicating that there was probably fire nearby – so they kept the door closed.  Next they scrambled into action and executed the fire escape plan that their mother had developed and practiced with them many times.  

"The bedroom that the girls share has a large egress window," said Doug Gray who lives in the home.  "We always told the girls never to use the plan unless there was an emergency and on Wednesday night that time came."

The girls opened their bedroom window, exited onto the covered porch below, climbed down a few more feet onto the roof of a shed, and finally stepped down onto a retaining wall in the home's back yard, safely escaping the fire.

Meanwhile, down on the home's first floor, the girls' mother also heard a smoke alarm and raced upstairs to reach her children.  With the fire burning hot and fast, the 35-year-old woman received burns to her face and hands as she ran upstairs to find her children and help her family escape.  The injuries she received are non-life threatening and she is expected to make a full recovery.

"Practicing a fire escape plan and having working smoke alarms saved this family," said Portland Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer Paul Corah.  "The kids knew where to go and what to do, even though they must have been scared.  As a firefighter and a dad, I'm so proud of these girls and happy that they are safe."


Just after 5:00 pm on January 12th, a 9-1-1 caller reported that the neighbor's roof was on fire.  Portland Fire & Rescue responded to the fire at 5578 SE Oak Street and brought it under control by 5:25 pm.  A Fire Investigator also responded to the scene and is still investigating the fire's cause.

Portland Fire & Rescue reminds citizens that all homes should have working smoke alarms and families need to have and practice a home fire escape plan. Always remember - if you have a fire, get out and stay out.  

The family has indicated they are willing to share their story with media with the goal of spreading the word to other families about the importance of having a fire escape plan.  They have made their contact information available through PF&R.



  Portland Fire & Rescue 

  We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

  January 13, 2011 


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NEWS RELEASE 01/14/11: Portland Arson Investigators Arrest Suspect on Two Counts of Arson

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January 14, 2011

9:36 am

On January 11, 2011, at just after 6:00 am, firefighters from NE Portland's Station 13 were dispatched to an automatic commercial alarm at the Madrona Studio apartments located at 10 N. Wielder Street.

Firefighters arrived on-scene less than four minutes later and observed smoke and water escaping from underneath an apartment door on the fifth floor. Firefighters entered the apartment and determined that a small fire had occurred and had been quickly extinguished by a ceiling sprinkler head. There were no occupants in the apartment and firefighters noted that the apartment had no working smoke alarm.

A Portland Fire Investigator responded to the scene to investigate the fire's cause. The investigator conducted a thorough fire scene investigation and determined that the fire was an act of arson.

As a result of the on-scene investigation, the tenant of the apartment, Richard Allen Wymer, was identified as a person of interest. After additional follow up by fire investigators, Wymer, age 65, was also determined to be a suspect in an arson that occurred on January 15, 2010 in a downtown Portland Starbucks because of his physical description.

On January 12, 2011, PF&R Fire Investigators arrested Wymer on two counts of Arson I, a class A felony, and one count of Criminal Mischief, a class C felony with a bail amount of $505,000. Wymer is currently lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center. PF&R Fire Investigators will testify to their investigative findings before a grand jury on January 19, 2011.



  Portland Fire & Rescue 

  We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

  January 14, 2011 


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The Portland Riverfront Fire of 1872 -- By Jim Fairchild

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The Portland Riverfront Fire of 1872

by Jim Fairchild, Portland Fire & Rescue's Human Resources Coordinator

Apparatus, Circa 1872



Portland Visited by the Fell Destroyer


Over Two Blocks Entirely Consumed

So read the headlines of the December 23, 1872 issue of the Morning Oregonian in the wake of what was up until then, the worst fire in Portland’s history.

In 1872, Ulysses Grant was President, the James Gang was robbing banks in the central Midwest and Portland was a much different city than it is today.  The city proper stretched from Burnside on the north to Harrison on the south and from the Willamette River on the east to 7th Avenue on the west.  The Willamette Riverfront was a hub of commercial activity.  Wharves and buildings lined the river in the area now occupied by Waterfront Park.  The levee on the west bank had not yet been constructed so the area was considerably lower and flooded frequently.  Consequently, waterfront buildings were constructed on pilings approximately one story in height.  Offices and storerooms occupied the upper stories in order to keep merchandise dry during high water.

Building and sanitation codes of the day were relaxed by modern standards.  Construction was haphazard.  Most of the buildings in this area were of light frame construction.  Fire alarms and sprinklers would not make their appearance in Portland for many years.  Trash accumulated under the buildings between the pilings.  Some merchants used this area to store surplus goods.  A lumberyard at the foot of Alder Street blocked the entire street with a large inventory of fir planks. 

The city had yet to organize a professional fire department.  Instead, fire protection was provided by companies of volunteers including Willamette Engine Company #1, Vigilance Hook and Ladder Company #1, Multnomah Engine Company #2, Columbia Engine Company #3, and Protection Engine Company #4.  Although the city provided some funds for apparatus and firehouses, each volunteer company independently trained and equipped its members.  Each company had its own command structure, its own apparatus and its own approach to fire suppression.  A Chief Engineer and Assistant Engineer were elected by a vote of the combined volunteer membership.  These officers served as incident commanders on larger scenes.

Portland’s hydrants were not pressurized.  Hydrants of the day were connected to cisterns located under the streets.  Water was supplied to the cisterns by water lines and pumped out by steam engines or hand pumps when needed for fire suppression. 

Hose Cart, Circa 1872

So it was in the very early morning hours of Sunday, December 22, 1872, when a fire was discovered at the back of a Chinese laundry on the river side of Front Avenue between SW Morrison and SW Alder Streets.  Given the hour and the lack of regular police patrols, the fire was well established by the time it was discovered.  Once discovered, an alarm was raised and fire bells across the city were rung to summon the volunteers.

The initial response was somewhat delayed by the early hour and lack of modern communication technology but the fire was still contained a single structure when the first company arrived on scene.  This was not to remain the situation for long.  As additional companies arrived, a weather front moved through the area bringing a stiff breeze from the south.  This caused the fire to extend to other buildings to the north.  The trash and other flammable material located under the buildings, between the pilings soon caught fire.  The wind whipped the flames beneath the buildings and created an updraft that tore through structures above.  Soon, the fire was entirely out of control and spreading fast.

Within thirty minutes of the initial alarm, fire had extended to all the buildings on the river side of Front Avenue between Morrison and Alder.  Flying embers and heat quickly caused the fire to jump Front Avenue and within the hour, all the buildings on both sides of Front Avenue were fully involved.

Upon realizing that the fire was out of control and spreading fast, a general panic arose among the citizens.  It had been just over one month since 65 acres of downtown Boston were completely destroyed by one of the worst urban conflagrations in American history and now it looked like Portland might suffer a similar fate.  The streets filled with thousands of men, women and children running in all directions.  Some were running toward the fire to get a better view or to render what assistance they could.  Some ran away from the fire.  Others had lost their senses and were running aimlessly screaming,  praying and generally placing themselves at great risk.

Frantic business owners and residents for blocks around the fire began to throw their goods and possessions into the street in a misguided attempt to save them.  Before long, the chaos in the streets was made worse by the addition of teams and wagons of all descriptions, commissioned to transport merchandise and possessions out of the burning and threatened areas.  The curses of the teamsters and the sound of the horses contributed to the growing cacophony and confusion.  This chaotic scene impeded the firefighting efforts by limiting the mobility of the fire companies. 

At one point, Firefighters on First Avenue were briefly diverted from their work to come to the aid of a young boy who was being attacked by a crazed man with an ax for “some slight provocation.”  Had it not been for the intervention of this crew, the boy would have likely been killed.  The Morning Oregonian concluded that had it not been for the intervention of other citizens the man himself might been killed by the Firefighters who were “thoroughly incensed.”

In order to regain control of the streets and to prevent looting and theft of goods thrown into the streets, Mayor Wasserman authorized the militia to patrol the city.  Militia Companies were activated and placed under the command of the Police Chief.  They included the Washington Guards, the Emmet Guards and the Portland Artillery.  The Mayor also issued a decree that the Portland Police should deputize a sufficient number of special officers to ensure the security of the city.

By 10:00am, most of the buildings between the river, Morrison Street, Washington Street and First Avenue were on fire.  In an attempt to fight the fire from the river side, a donkey engine with two hose lines was loaded onboard the steam ship Oneonta but the heat was so great that the ship itself was at risk of burning.  It was withdrawn after having little effect.

Heat and smoke were also causing problems for the land based companies.  Firefighters ran hose lines through buildings on the west side of First Avenue in order to find some shelter from the heat and intense smoke.  Firefighters taking a stand along Alder Street wrapped themselves in water soaked blankets so they could approach the flames.  The four-inch main feeding the cisterns along First Avenue was unable to deliver enough flow to keep up with demand and the cisterns began to run dry leaving the Firefighters with no alternative other than to abandon their positions and fall back to the next cistern which held water.

Shortly after 10:00am, the fire reached Woodard’s Drug Store in which was stored a large quantity of coal oil and other explosive chemicals.  Several Firefighters were on ladders attempting to get a hose line in through a window on the second story of this building when a tremendous explosion blew out the north exterior wall and a potion of the roof.  Five Firefighters were seriously injured.  The Morning Oregonian speculated that two of the men were so seriously injured that they would probably die.  A search of later issues of the newspaper did not reveal the fate of these Firefighters.

By 11:30am, the fire was still out of control and spreading.  Merchandise and personal belongings moved by citizens from buildings into the street caught fire as did the large stockpile of fir planks stored in Alder Street.  It is likely that the efforts of Firefighters could have prevented the flames from spreading north of Alder had the street not been used as an extension of the lumberyard.  Once this lumber ignited, it burned with such intensity that the Firefighters were forced back and the fire extended to the block between Alder and Washington Streets. 

All available Firefighters were committed to the emergency.  By late morning, they had been working continuously and without respite for over eight hours.  Many were so fatigued and affected by smoke inhalation that they were unable to perform their duties effectively.  To provide additional manpower, Portland police, assisted by gangs of thugs, rounded up, at gunpoint, as many Chinese men as they could find and forced them to work the pumps. The Morning Oregonian justified this action by noting that none of the “Johns,” a pejorative for Chinese men, held at gunpoint complained to the authorities about the treatment they received.

Shortly before noon, telegrams were sent to surrounding communities requesting that all available fire personnel and apparatus be sent to Portland.  Vancouver Engine Company #1 chartered the steamship Vancouver and arrived by 1:30pm.  They provided very effective and timely support.  Columbia Hook and Ladder #1, Cataract Hose #1 and Fountain Hose #2 arrived from Oregon City on the steamship E. N. Cooke by 2:05pm.  And the up valley train that arrived in Portland at 4:00pm brought Capital #1 and Tiger #2 from Salem and Crescent #1 from Albany. 

Fortunately for the city and exhausted Firefighters, the wind died down and a heavy rain began to fall around noon.  This rain reduced the heat and slowed the spread of the fire sufficiently that the companies were able to stop its progress and bring it under control by 2:15pm.  Later that evening, the area was blanketed heavy snowfall.

In addition to the Firefighters injured in the explosion at Woodard’s Drug Store, there were several other casualties.  Newly elected First Assistant Engineer James Gallagher and Firefighter R. Holman were very seriously injured at the corner of First Avenue and Alder Street when the Carter Building partially collapsed and they were trapped under a wall.  The newspaper speculated that Gallagher would not survive his injuries.  His fate was not discovered in a search of later editions of the newspaper.  Firefighters Love and Johny Moore received head injuries resulting from falling bricks.  Nozzelman E.J. Porter was seriously injured when a flight of stairs under which he was standing collapsed.

The Morning Oregonian, had this to say about the Portland volunteer Firefighters, “Other cities may boast of having more experienced firemen, but none can claim superiority over the department of this city in the essential elements of courage, presence of mind, and willingness to do freely all that is possible for human beings to do.”  “They have proved themselves worthy of the title of firemen in the truest sense of the word.”  This being a time when health insurance was very uncommon, Mayor Wasserman proposed and the Common Council passed a resolution calling for the Committee on Fire and Water to make the expenditures necessary to provide for the care and needs of the injured Firefighters.

Losses from the fire were substantial.  The contemporary accounts do not agree on how many buildings were involved.  Depending on which account is accurate, between fifteen and twenty-five buildings completely destroyed and many more were damaged.  Scores of businesses and residents were displaced.  The final cost of the loss was given as $413,665, or approximately $7,500,000 in today’s dollars.

The cause of the fire was attributed to a Chinese laundryman boiling pitch and allowing coals from the fire to fall through the floor onto a pile of wood located below the building.  The probable cause of the fire was arson directed against the Chinese owned business. In 1872, Portland had a large and active Chinese community.  Discrimination against all Asian people was rampant and severe.  In the days following the fire, many of the city’s Chinese residents were assaulted and harassed. 

As a result of the fire, several actions were initiated that would have long term implications for Portland and its citizens.  One of the most significant of these addressed the water delivery system for the city.  In 1872, city water was supplied by the Portland Water Company, an independent vendor.  By February of 1873, a recommendation had been formalized for the City to purchase the assets of this vendor including its water rights, pumping facilities, reservoirs and distribution system.  This eventually led to the establishment of the Portland Water Bureau, although it would be many years before the bureau was formally organized.

Other initiatives that originated as the result of the fire led to the installation of electronic fire alarm boxes on city streets; the establishment of an additional volunteer fire company, Tiger #5; the acquisition of three new steam fire engines and other apparatus; fire protection and building codes were enhanced; and it was required that streets ending at the river be kept open to river access and free of goods.  A citizen initiative to convert the burned area to a public levee was not acted upon but it foresaw the creation of Waterfront Park.

Unfortunately, none of these initiatives was sufficient to protect the city from an even more catastrophic fire less than one year later.

Interested in more?  Coming soon from Jim Fairchild will be information on "The Great Portland Fire of 1873" - stay tuned to the Fire Blog!

   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   January 14, 2011 


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Memorial Procession & Service Honor Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter

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Memorial procession passes through Rainier, Oregon

A funeral procession for slain Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter made its way Friday from Longview, Washington to a funeral service at the Chiles Center located on the University of Portland campus in North Portland.

The procession stretched for miles along U.S. 30 and included about 500 emergency fire and police apparatus and vehicles from all over Oregon and Washington.

Hundreds of citizens lined the highway with flags and other tributes, standing in the pouring rain to show their respect to the fallen chief of police.  The hearse carrying Chief Painter was led by motor officers.



PF&R firefighters from Engine 27, Truck 22, Engine 22, Engine 14, Engine 26, Truck 8, Truck 4, and Truck 25 stood at attention as the procession passed.

Portland Fire & Rescue’s Fireboat David Campbell was positioned in the Columbia River by the St. John’s Bridge and sprayed water high in the air in tribute as the procession rolled by.

PF&R Engine 13 passes under the flag raised by Truck 4 and Truck 28

Over 500 people waited to enter the Chiles Center at the University of Portland for the memorial service which featured a bagpipe procession and remembrances by Painter's family, Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole, and Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

Chief Painter's casket is escorted into the Chiles Center

Photo courtesy of KATU News


The 55-year-old Painter was shot and killed last week in a confrontation with a suspect at a car stereo shop in Rainier, Oregon.

Additional photos will be added to PF&R's Facebook page here as they become available.

   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   January 14, 2011 


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