Portland and Albany can hire more firefighters thanks to federal grant

Portland and Albany can hire more firefighters thanks to federal grant

Scappoose Rural Fire District also received federal money to buy vehicles

By:  Alex Hasenstab

The cities of Portland and Albany, and the Scappoose Rural Fire District, will receive nearly $4 million in federal grant money to support local firefighting.

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced Monday that Portland and Albany both secured grants from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program, commonly known as SAFER, to hire firefighters.

"Firefighters put their lives on the line protecting Oregon communities, and deserve both modern equipment and properly staffed departments to do the risky work that Oregonians count on," Wyden said in a press release.

The program is run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They announced the city of Albany secured a $1.33 million award from SAFER and Portland will receive $2.07 million to hire firefighters.

"The City of Albany is experiencing significant growth, and we continue to face pressures on our budget," Albany City Manager Peter Troedsson said in a press release. "We're grateful for these federal funds which will help us to keep up with growth and continue to provide important emergency services to the people of our community."

Portland Fire and Rescue Chief Sara Boone said the money will allow the city to fully reopen Fire Station 23, located near the Ross Island Bridge, for the first time since it closed in 2010. The station has partially operated as a two-person rescue unit since 2017.

"These funds will enable PF&R to hire six firefighters to fully staff Station 23 with an engine company which will strengthen our system of emergency response service delivery," Boone said. "With the SAFER grant we will be able to restore fire protection capabilities to this fire management area."

The Scappoose Rural Fire Department earned a $399,038 grant for vehicle acquisition.