Issue No. 12January 2011

Inside PF&R's Station 21


Station 21, located at 05 SE Madison, serves a number of needs in their inner SE Portland FMA (fire management area).  Station 21 is located on the Willamette River at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge.  It has one company officer and three firefighters on duty at all times. One member is a paramedic and the other three are EMT-B. These firefighters are also certified to operate PF&R's rescue boat - the Eldon Trinity - which is moored at the station.   


Station 21 was open as an active fire station from 1961 to 1990, when it became the administrative home of PF&R's Emergency Medical Services Office and Investigations Unit.  In 2008, it was reopened as the temporary home of Station 1 (now located at 55 SW Ash) while that station underwent a significant renovation.  The Station 1 crews moved back to Station 1 in May 2010.  In June 2010, Station 23 was relocated to Station 21. 


This strategic location on the waterfront allows firefighters to respond quickly to incidents on the Eastside Esplanade.  Firefighters utilize  a Kawasaki Mule that allows them to drive along the esplanade's path and reach citizens in need of help more quickly than driving a fire engine  along another route.  The crew reports that many bicyclists have not been able to make the sharp turn from the Steele Bridge to the esplanade and reminds bicyclists use caution.


The station itself is positioned between the river and the esplanade.  When crews need to pull out the engine to respond to a call, there is an audible alarm and a visible flashing yellow light on the side of the station.  They ask citizens to be vigilant when walking, running, or biking past the station next to the Hawthorne Bridge.  Often times, people are listening to music and don't see that the engine is trying to cross the path.  They ask that everyone stop, not try to get around the engine, and let them cross the esplanade as quickly as possible so they can respond to the emergency to which they are being dispatched.


Another facet of the station is its marine operations.  With the rescue boat stationed on the dock attached to Station 21, the crew is positioned to respond to all types of water emergencies on the Willamette River.  They have already used the rescue boat to fight boat fires and rescue a kayaker from the frigid water.  With summer months ahead, the crew at Station 21 anticipates they will respond to a much larger number of water-related calls.


When asked about their most recent memorable call, firefighters recalled a recent December evening when multiple citizens knocked on their door and reported that there was a fire just two blocks away on SE Salmon Street.  Just then, they received the tapout and responded to the fire.  Firefighters Gary and Pete from Engine 21, along with firefighters from Truck 4, recall locating and rescuing two individuals who were trapped in a commercial building that was on fire.  At the time, they didn't think either individual would survive because they had such significant burns to their lungs.  However, they are happy to report that both individuals are now doing well.


Station 21 is a welcome addition to PF&R's network of stations and is prepared to respond both on the land and the water to any emergency.

Station 7 Fights Portland's Last and First Fires of the Year 

(Station 7 Firefighters battle Portland's last blaze of 2010 in the 1600 Block of SE 162nd Avenue)

Portland Fire Station 7, located at 1500 SE 122nd Ave., continues to be one of Portland's busiest stations.  On December 31, 2010, Station 7's truck and engine responded at 3:00 pm to fight the last fire of 2010 - an apartment fire at 1640 SE 162nd Ave.  This fire displaced seven people from their apartments and sent one police officer to the hospital with smoke inhalation.


At 4:00 am, Station 7 firefighters responded to the first fire of 2011, located at 1634 SE 151st Ave.  This fire occurred when a space heater caught a mattress in a bedroom on fire.  


According to Battlation Chief Craig Funk, "We closed 2010 and opened 2011.  Station 7 is one busy station!"  Chief Funk isn't kidding either.  On December 31st, Station 7 responded to 24 calls - seven of which took place after midnight - making for a busy start to the new year. 

(Firefighters douse burning debris from a fire in the 1600 Block of SE 151st Avenue early New Year's Day)
History Revisited: Portland's Riverfront Fire of 1872 

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.


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.
Article Submitted By PF&R's Jim Fairchild
In This Issue
Inside PF&R's Station 21
Station 7 Fights Last and First Fires of the Year
Historic Riverfront Fire of 1872
Emergency Response Statistics
PF&R Budget Update
Firefighters Assist with Homeless Surveying Project
About PF&R
Emergency Response Statistics (December 2010)

Total Incidents:                          5,766
Medical:                                     4,651
Fire:                                           168
Other:                                         947
Major Fires:                                9*

*Major fires are those with over $10,000 in estimated fire damage.
PF&R Budget Update


Portland Fire & Rescue is in the final stages of preparing PF&R's Budget Request which is due to the Office of Management and Finance (OMF) on January 31, 2011.  As a Public Safety bureau, PF&R was directed by City Council to include one-time reduction packages totaling .75%, which is approximately $670,000 of the bureau's general fund budget. 


The Budget Advisory Committee had an integral role in determining the decision packages that would be included in PF&R's Budget Request.  Throughout the process, the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) met twice and will be meeting again on January 20, 2011.


At the first BAC meeting in November, the committee received a crash course on the City's budget process and PF&R's budget.  The BAC reconvened in mid-December and spent a day developing a ranked list of decision packages.  Chief Klum then presented the committee's recommendations to Commissioner Leonard for consideration.


At the upcoming BAC meeting Commissioner Leonard will be commenting on PF&R's budget and the decision packages included in PF&R's Requested Budget.


Once PF&R's Budget Request is submitted to OMF, the City's Financial Planning Division prepares budget analysis reports for the Mayor and Commissioners.  These reports serve as the basis for discussion of our budget during the Council's budget work sessions.  PF&R's work session with Council is tentatively scheduled for March 15th.  Discussions and work sessions will continue until the Mayor releases proposed budget decisions in late April. 


Citizens will have the opportunity during the months of March and April to attend Community Forum meetings which are held throughout the City.

You can continue to follow our budget process online at

Firefighters to Assist with 2011 Homeless Street Count Project


The Homeless Street Count is coordinated by the Portland Housing Bureau.  It is conducted in an effort to learn more about the individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Portland/ Multnomah County who are unsheltered. It captures a snapshot of those sleeping outside - on the street, in a car or abandoned building - on a given night.


This survey will be conducted In combination with Multnomah County's One Night Shelter Count on the same night and will provide important information about the level of homelessness in our community and the need for services.  The data will eventually be used to determine eligibility for state and federal funding for homeless services.  This year's survey will be conducted on Wednesday January 26, 2011

Portland Fire & Rescue will be one of the many organizations across the county participating in the survey effort.  Fire crews who respond to and/or treat people who have confirmed they are/were sleeping outside on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 will fill out survey forms during the week of the count along with their emergency medical services forms and forward the data they collect to the survey coordinator.

About Us
Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) is the largest fire agency and emergency medical service provider in the State of Oregon with 755 employees and serves a population of 582,000.  In 2009, PF&R responded to 69,000 emergency incidents, consistently demonstrating our commitment to be Always Ready, Always There for the citizens of Portland.
Portland Fire & Rescue
55 SW Ash
Portland, Oregon 97204
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