Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Erin Janssens has announced her retirement after three years in the top job.
"After over 31 years in the Fire Service, nearly 28 of those with Portland Fire & Rescue, I'm pleased to announce my decision to retire this coming April," Janssens wrote in an email to firefighters. "This gives me time to finalize a few projects and provides Commissioner [Dan] Saltzman time to identify Portland's next Fire Chief."
Janssens was appointed chief of the notoriously clannish fire bureau in 2012 by then-City Commissioner Randy Leonard.
Her three years at the helm of Portland Fire & Rescue have been rocky, marred by an assistant fire marshal telling a downtown sex club how it could ignore potential fire-code violations, and Janssens' own grabbing of a subordinate in a threatening manner during a meeting.
Janssens, the bureau's first female chief, sent out the message below to her staff today:
After over 31 years in the Fire Service and nearly 28 of those with Portland Fire & Rescue, I’m pleased to announce my decision to retire this coming April. Retiring in the spring gives me time to finalize a few projects and provides Commissioner Saltzman time to identify Portland’s next Fire Chief.
It is bittersweet to officially identify my retirement date, as it has been an honor and privilege to serve as our city’s Fire Chief. I am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to lead Oregon’s largest fire & rescue organization of 730 talented and highly trained people dedicated to protect lives, property, and the environment. I have loved coming to work each day, and am proud to call many of you and my esteemed colleagues throughout our city, state and nation, friends.
My initial plan when I became Fire Chief was to retire in 2015, however as projects continued, I stayed to see those things through. What I’ve come to realize is that we will always be in the midst of one innovation or another, and every leader must at some point identify when they will pass the proverbial torch. I’ve stayed to finish goals I had set, including ensuring we had a solid and experienced leadership team in place to help the next Chief, and initiatives for the next generation to advance.