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55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204
January 13th, 2016
Dear Members of PF&R,
After over 31 years in the Fire Service, nearly 28 of those with Portland Fire & Rescue, I’m pleased to announce my decision to retire this coming April. This gives me time to finalize a few projects and provides Commissioner Saltzman time to identify Portland’s next Fire Chief.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your Fire Chief. I am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to lead Oregon’s largest fire & rescue organization of 730 talented and highly trained people dedicated to protect lives, property, and the environment. I have loved coming to work each day, and am proud to call many of you friends.
Retiring is a difficult decision in a person’s life, but hopefully one we all will have the opportunity to consider; firefighters are exposed to increased dangers each day, and we all remember people who worked alongside us who never reached retirement age. My initial plan when I became Fire Chief was to retire in 2015, however as projects continued, I stayed to see those things through. What I’ve come to realize is that we will always be in the midst of one innovation or another, and every fire chief must at some point identify when they will pass the proverbial torch. I’ve stayed to finish goals I had set, including ensuring we had a solid and experienced leadership team in place to help the next Chief, and initiatives for the next generation to advance.
In the face of some of the most extreme budgets, together we have accomplished a tremendous amount during my tenure as Fire Chief. Here are some of our accomplishments we should all be proud of:
I’m proud of all that we have accomplished together. In my final months serving as your Fire Chief, I’m also looking forward to launching a new campaign to prevent Portland’s leading cause of fires (resulting in five fire deaths in 2015); PF&R’s Equity Roadmap and diversity training; work with providers-insurers for shared cost savings; preliminary GO Bond work; and pursuing HIPPA compliance. All of these projects will require ongoing support.
Again, it has been an honor and privilege to work alongside all of you serving our city, preventing emergencies from occurring, and helping people in their time of need. In an increasingly complex world, the training, skills and abilities required of all of you continues to grow. And I know you will continue to work hard to keep our city and people safe.
Like every Chief before me, your safety and well-being has been my, and will continue to be every fire chiefs utmost priority. I thank you and your families for your commitment to serve, day-in, day-out, throughout all extremes in weather, 24/7, 365 days a year. Be proud of your past, learn in the present, continue to move forward and look to the future. I am extremely proud of you and look forward to seeing you this spring for Chief’s Inspections.
Be safe out there,