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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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PF&R Technical Rescue Team Participates in Annual Tram Rescue Drill

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One of Portland’s many unique attractions is an

above ground transportation system that spans 3,300 feet.

The Portland Aerial Tram opened in December 2006 and is the second commuter aerial tramway in the United States (after New York City's Roosevelt Island Tramway). The Tram connects the city’s South Waterfront area with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and the Marquam Hill neighborhood. Traveling at 22 miles per hour, the Tram cabins rise 500 feet for the three-minute trip over I-5, the Lair Hill neighborhood and the Southwest Terwilliger Parkway.

In 2003, Doppelmayr Cable Transportation Engineering Company (CTEC) was selected to design, fabricate, install and maintain the Portland Aerial Tram at a cost of $57 million. The tram was jointly funded by OHSU, the City of Portland, and by South Waterfront property owners, with the bulk of the funding coming from OHSU. While the majority of passengers are affiliated with OHSU, it is open to the public and operated as part of Portland's public transportation network that includes the Portland Streetcar, MAX Light Rail, and Tri-Met buses.

OHSU oversees operation of the Tram, while the city is responsible for the maintenance of the upper and lower stations and tower, and provides regulatory oversight. Portland of Fire & Rescue (PF&R) is responsible for performing rescue operations at emergencies involving the tram and its associated structures.

On Sunday, October 24th, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) firefighters joined representatives from OHSU, Doppelmayr CTEC, and operators of the Portland Aerial Tram to participate in the annual tram evacuation training.

The training exercise took place above OHSU’s Casey Eye Institute parking garage. Crews from the different agencies had the opportunity to work alongside one another and practice an aerial rescue of on-board tram passengers in the event the tram is stopped for an extended period time.

The exercise consisted of firefighters from PF&R’s Technical Rescue Team setting up a rope rescue system and harnesses to lower participating passengers to the top of the parking structure.  Prior to the start of the lowering operation, two members of the rescue team were raised to the tram’s cabin to assist participating passengers. The rest of the Technical Rescue Team stayed on the ground to operate the main line, safety line, and haul system. The Tram Operator was key to the success of the exercise as they were responsible for assembling equipment stored in the floor of the tram that enable rescue team members to be raised safely to the tram’s cabin.

Realistic training exercises such as the tram drill enables PF&R’s firefighters to gain experience and proficiency, mature skills, and ensure they are extremely prepared to respond to emergencies and protect Portland’s citizens and communities.

Watch FOX 12 News coverage of the drill and view photos at

Click here to learn more about the Portland Aerial Tram.

All photos by Dick Harris, Portland Fire & Rescue Photographer.


  Portland Fire & Rescue 

  We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

  October 27, 2010

What Do Heroes Eat for Breakfast?

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Firefighters from Portland Fire Station 29 (located at 13310 SE Foster Rd.) visited Gilbert Heights Elementary School this morning to take part in a “Breakfast for Heroes”.  Firefighters and other public safety professionals participated in this special breakfast that was held by the school for the students and their parents.  


The event, which was held in the school’s gymnasium prior to the start of classes, gave firefighters the opportunity to interact with kids and parents about what it entails to be a professional firefighter. 


Captain Don, Lieutenant Bob and Firefighters Randy, Marc, and Rodney also read to students from library books about firefighting and ate breakfast with the kids.  This event corresponded with a book drive at the school with a hero-related theme.

Today also marked 21 years of service with Portland Fire & Rescue for Captain Don and Firefighter Marc.  Spending their “anniversary” at the Heroes Breakfast was a fitting way to celebrate.  Congratulations Don and Marc!


  Portland Fire & Rescue 

  We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

  October 26, 2010

Portland, Gresham Firefighters Gather at Station 31 for "Last Supper"

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Station 31, previously Station 45, was originally constructed in 1958 but did not become a Portland Station until 1985 when District 10 consolidated with PF&R.  



On Monday, October 25th, firefighters from Portland Fire Station 31 and Gresham Fire Station 73 gathered for the “last supper” at Station 31.  Located at 1927 SE 174th Street, Station 31 is scheduled to be demolished and rebuilt over the next year as part of the 1998 General Obligation Bond passed by voters to ensure that Portland’s fire stations can withstand a major seismic event and still respond to emergencies.

Station 31 is a shared station between Portland and Gresham and is staffed on two shifts by Portland firefighters and one shift by Gresham firefighters.  The station straddles the border between the two cities and firefighters respond to calls on either side of the border in the fire management area (FMA). 

With boxes packed and the “last supper” of pizza from Giuseppe’s Restaurant just down the street from the station eaten, firefighters will now relocate to Gresham Fire Station 74 as its temporary location until the new station is completed in 2011.


  Portland Fire & Rescue 

  We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

  October 27, 2010

Laguna Beach Fire: One of the 20 Largest Fires Losses in U.S. History

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A fire burned in Laguna Beach in 1993, consuming 16,000 acres and destroying or severely damaging over 400 homes and causing $528 million dollars in damage.

The fire started on October 27, 1993 as a brush fire in Laguna Canyon. It spread when embers jumped a firebreak into Laguna Beach and Emerald Bay. The speed of the fire was phenomenal. The top half of Emerald Canyon burned at a rate of 100 acres per minute. Fire flashed across Laguna Canyon Road in six places, leaping up the slope with 200- feet flames. Fire burned 1.25 miles of brush in 17 minutes to reach Canyon Acres.

After destroying homes in Canyon Acres, the blaze ascended from the canyon floor to obliterate the Mystic Hills neighborhood. By 2 p.m. the fires reaches Emerald Bay and Boat Canyon, jumps Laguna Canyon Road reaching Canyon Acres about 3:30 p.m. The fire raced up the hillside to Skyline /Mystic Hills about 4 p.m. and by 5 p.m. had reached its farthest extremities, to El Morro and Temple Hills. About 10 p.m. the winds shifted and the fire was declared contained by midnight. Mutual aid from other communities included 345 fire engines, 17 dozers, 30 aircraft, 11 hand crews, and a total of 1,968 fire personnel.

Sadly, the Laguna Beach Fire killed nearly one in five of the County’s gnatcatchers, a serious setback for the threatened songbird.

Click here to view a video of the Laguna Beach fire courtesy of the City of Laguna Beach website. 



25 Largest Fire Losses in U.S. History

Below table courtesy of NFPA:



   Portland Fire & Rescue

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   October 27, 2010

Firefighters Tie On Their Aprons and Get Cooking at 1st Annual Chili Cook-Off

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Crockpots bubbled with fresh chili while firefighters and staff of Portland Fire & Rescue excitedly filled the apparatus bay of Station 23 this afternoon for the 1st Annual Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) Chili Cook-Off. The goal of the chili cook-off was simple - to gather employees, encourage camaraderie and interaction, share recipes, and enjoy great food.


With cups and spoons in hand, all were encouraged to taste each of the chili masterpieces prepared by members of the FMO. PF&R’s FMO, also known as the Prevention Division, is responsible for all fire and life safety related programs and is managed by Fire Marshal Erin Janssens.

And the Winning Results are In...

The winning chili belonging to Fire Inspector Jed H. was determined by people's choice. Fire Inspector Jed will have his name engraved on an antique soda-acid fire extinguisher to be prominently displayed at the Gideon Fire Marshal’s Office in SE Portland. There was a three-way tie for 2nd place, going to Senior Fire Inspector Stew W., Senior Fire Inspector Specialist Nate T., and Fire Inspector John H.


The next event will likely be a BBQ Rib Cook-Off with baked beans, cole slaw, and potato salad as additionally judged entries. Stay tuned!

A big congrat's to Fire Inspector Jed H., Senior Fire Inspector Stew W., Senior Fire Inspector Specialist Nate T., and Fire Inspector John H. and to all other employees who participated!


   Portland Fire & Rescue

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   October 28, 2010