11/5/13 City Flag to be lowered in honor of 15-year-old Abukar Madey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
On Wednesday, November 6, the flag of the City of Portland will be lowered in honor of 15 year-old Abukar Madey, who was a victim of homicidal violence. The City flag will be lowered at City Hall, the Portland Building, the World Trade Center, Pioneer Courthouse Square, at Jeld-Wen Field, and at several fire stations.
“Abukar had just turned 15 years old a few days before his life was cut short,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman. "All of us feel the pain of losing this child, especially the Somali community."
Also on Wednesday, Commissioner Saltzman will make remarks in honor of Abukar at the 9:30am Portland City Council meeting at Portland City Hall.
City Council approved a resolution in April 2009 to lower the City’s flag in honor of children who die from abuse, neglect, or homicidal violence. This marks the eleventh time that the flag has been lowered for this purpose.
8/29/13 Statement on Proposed Fire Sprinkler Ordinance
In order to make certain that the public is safe, and potentially save lives, I am proposing an ordinance that would require all Portland nightclubs to have fire sprinkler suppression systems regardless of when they opened for business.
Mayor Hales assigned me oversight of Portland Fire & Rescue a little over 2 months ago and in that intervening time my staff and I have been attempting to get up to speed on the incredibly diverse and important work your firefighters perform every day. One very important role they perform that doesn't get a lot of attention is inspecting the buildings and facilities we all use to make sure they are safe. This is performed under the authority of Portland Fire Marshal Nate Takara's office and is vital to keeping Portland safe.
However a gap in this system has come to my attention and I believe it is time to fill that gap. It can be a bit technical, so bear with me. There are different occupancy classifications for different uses of buildings and facilities. All bars and nightclubs are considered an A2 occupancy. And if you wanted to open up a new bar or nightclub that had capacity for over 100 people you'd have to make sure that building had a fire suppression sprinkler system. Falling in the gap are bars and nightclubs that have been operating before the A2 sprinkler requirement was put on the books and didn’t have to install fire sprinkler suppression systems.
I believe the unique characteristics of nightclubs (loud music, large crowds, intoxicated patrons) pose a serious safety concern and should be required to install fire suppression sprinkler systems regardless of when they opened for business. The documents here on my website are the ordinance I filed with City Council for the 2:00 PM hearing September 4, 2013 as well as some Frequently Asked Questions that can provide more insight on this proposal.
I will note that the majority of nightclubs are already operating in buildings with fire suppression sprinkler systems and the universe of property owners and businesses this new regulation will impact looks to be less than 20, although the final number will not be known until a new round of inspections occurs in the coming months.
As always please feel free to contact me regarding this and any issue your city government is involved with. If you have more specific questions about this nightclub sprinkler requirement, please contact my Policy Manager Matt Grumm – (503) 823-4151, email@example.com -- for more information.
7/3/13 Message from Chief Jannsens regarding 4th of July
Portland Fire & Rescue wants to remind Portlanders to enjoy their holiday safely and legally, so everyone can relax and enjoy this annual celebration.
Each year, people come together on the Fourth of July not only to celebrate America’s freedom, but also to spend time with family and friends, barbeque, and, maybe even set off a few fireworks.
However, Oregon law bans possession, use, or sale of any fireworks that fly, explode, travel more than one foot into the air, or more than six feet on the ground. These fireworks are illegal.
Why are most fireworks illegal in Oregon? It’s not rocket science: Oregon law states that fireworks outside the above definition are dangerous and strictly limit the use of these to professional displays only.
Illegal fireworks cause:
In Portland, our difficulty is that many of the fireworks that are illegal in Oregon are legal in Washington and readily available to anyone who can drive across the Columbia River. Given the physical, emotional, environmental, and economic costs, as our population becomes more aware about these real consequences, it will become increasingly clear that illegal fireworks in the hands of amateurs is no longer a 'patriotic' act. Of special note this year: with our recent extremely hot and dry weather, the risk of fire from both legal and illegal fireworks has increased.
As in past years, in addition to an education campaign, Portland Fire & Rescue will work with Portland Police to confiscate illegal fireworks and fine offenders. I encourage to help keep your neighborhood safe by reporting illegal firework activity through the City’s non-emergency number, 503.823.3333.
PF&R supports this time of celebration with our families and friends, and looks forward to watching the professional displays in our region. These displays are well planned events conducted by professionals in low hazard areas. People wishing to avoid the noise of these explosions can hopefully plan ahead to protect themselves and their loved ones. However, people should be able to trust that their neighbors will obey the laws and not place them in jeopardy through this illegal activity. Also, for those intent on breaking the law, know that it is not safe to ‘go outside of the city’; in addition to the physical risks and emotional anxiety, fireworks represent an enormous fire hazard to parks, forests, and the wildlife living there.
PF&R’s goal is to make the 4th of July safe and enjoyable for all. Please help keep your neighborhood safe and pleasant by not bringing illegal fireworks to Oregon, and educating the Oregonians you know about the law (and the dangers) before they buy illegal fireworks.
Erin Janssens, Fire Chief
Portland Fire & Rescue
See an illustration of illegal vs. legal fireworks here:
Find safety tips here
7/3/13 Statement to City Council Regarding Arizona firefighters
Earlier this week, Arizona lost 19 of its most skilled firefighters from Prescott while battling a wildfire raging through the small town of Yarnell. It’s a tragedy in the greatest order and our sympathy goes to the firefighters, their families, the cities of Prescott and Yarnell, and the state of Arizona. We cannot even begin to imagine their sorrow and how overwhelmed they must feel. This is every Fire Department’s nightmare.
While there is a science to fire, like most things in nature it is willful and unpredictable. Firefighters go on duty each day knowing their work is dangerous; the risks are high, but so is the return—helping people and our community stay safe. These Hotshots were the best of the best. They are now forever in our hearts and their sacrifice will not be forgotten.
6/14/13 Homelessness Street Count Report 2013
This morning, the 2013 Point-In-Time Count of Homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County was released. The Portland Housing Bureau has the report, as well as additional materials on their website available here.
6/4/13 Surrender and Return of Firearms FAQ
The attached PDF has information regarding where and how to surrender your firearms in Multnomah County Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) Restraining Order Cases. We expect more information to be up on the Multnomah County Courthouse's website shortly as well.