Portland City Council Approves 13 New Firefighters

Portland, Ore. — Portland City Council has approved the addition of 13 new firefighter positions for Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) as part of the Spring Supplemental Budget process. The positions will be funded internally by PF&R’s existing resources during the first nine months of employment as the new hires go through the comprehensive firefighter training program. Once training is complete, the new firefighters will fill shifts at fire stations and reduce the need for fill shifts that would otherwise be worked on overtime to maintain daily staffing levels of 169 firefighters citywide.

The move is expected to reduce PF&R’s reliance on overtime and provide relief during periods of increased employee leaves, particularly during holidays and summer months. The addition of these 13 members is also timely as PF&R expects over 100 members to retire in the next year, with the new firefighters filling the positions left vacant.

However, PF&R acknowledges that the 13 new positions may not be enough to address the upcoming retirement wave in the next 24-26 months. To address this, the bureau has engaged with an external consulting firm to evaluate the necessary number of additional positions needed to ensure staffing sufficiency and reduce overtime to more manageable levels. The consultant is expected to deliver its final report in early May to inform PF&R’s future staffing needs and strategy.