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Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman Names New Portland Fire & Rescue Chief

City goes outside notoriously insular department for new leader.

City Commissioner Dan Saltzman today named Mike Myers, formerly the fire chief in Las Vegas and, briefly, St. Charles, Mo., to replace Chief Erin Janssens, who announced her retirement earlier this year.

"Chief Myers has the right skill-set to approach the complex challenges our Fire & Rescue Bureau is facing with rapid growth and changing demands and, specifically, would be able to bring a cutting-edge approach to the Emergency Medical Services side of the Bureau," Saltzman said in a statement.

Myers' hiring marks a departure for the fire bureau, which usually hires its top leader from within: Janssens, a lifer in the bureau, succeeded John Klum, who like his predecessor, Dave Sprando, was part of an extended family who served in the bureau.

The clannish nature of bureau leadership has made change difficult, even as the nature of firefighters' work has continued the shift away from putting out fires toward emergency medical response.

In Las Vegas, Myers commanded a bureau slightly smaller than Portland's. In his bio, he highlights a significant increase in the survival rates for people suffering from heart attacks, which he says rose from 3 to 5 percent to 30 percent under his leadership.

"Mike is an innovative, community-minded leader with a strong vision for the Bureau, and brings the right combination of leadership and experience for Portland Fire and Rescue," Saltzman said.

Myers begins work June 30.