Fire Chief retires, new Chief welcomed, in outer East Portland

Portland residents are safer because of Chief Dave Sprando’s efforts; go with us, here, to his farewell event held at the Portland Fire & Rescue training station in Parkrose …

After 31 years of service, outgoing Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Dave Sprando is given a hearty sendoff by former firefighter – and Portland City Commissioner – Randy Leonard at the retirement event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It’s no secret that we’re fans of the men and women who serve our city every day at Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R). Ask anyone whose home or life has been saved – they’ll agree that our firefighters are the best.

Chief Sprando’s contributions
We know what firefighters do – they rescue folks, and put out fires. We asked Lt. Allen Oswalt, PF&R spokesman, to tell us about how retiring Chief Dave Sprando contributed to the bureau at his retirement reception held at the Portland Fire & Rescue training station in Parkrose not long ago.

“Among other assignments, Dave Sprando was an officer here in outer East Portland, at Station 2, in Parkrose, where we do our training,” Oswalt began.

“He had a direct hand in improving our bureau when he was the Training Officer. Sprando was absolutely convinced that a better-trained firefighter is a safer firefighter. And, a safer firefighter is a better asset to the residents of the City of Portland.

“In addition to good training, we provide recruits a full 10 months of training – longer than any other department in the Pacific Northwest.”

Sprando also had a big role in acquiring new equipment, Oswalt added. “Our job is inherently dangerous. He made the case for better equipment – like new air tanks – to the Portland City Council, and gained their approval.”

Instead of handing over the “keys to the firehouse” – we catch outgoing Fire Chief Dave Sprando handing the official pager and cell phone to incoming Chief John Klum.

Welcoming Fire Chief John Klum
At the reception, we also met the incoming PF&R Chief, John Klum – a 30-year veteran of the force.

Klum was the captain at the HazMat Unit stationed at Station 7 SE 122nd Avenue for nine years, Oswalt told us.

“Back then, Portland Police and Multnomah County Sheriffs were taking down a lot of meth labs – cleaning up seven or eight of them a week.”

More recently, Klum has served as Fire Marshal for the City of Portland.

“Every firefighter, down the line, has the greatest confidence that Klum will continue the tradition of support for the men and women in the bureau – and excellence in fire and rescue services for the citizens of Portland,” Oswalt confided.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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