Home Fire News Portland selects first female African American fire chief

Portland selects first female African American fire chief

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Sara Boone (Portland Fire & Rescue Facebook)

Gordon R. Friedman
The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has appointed Sara Boone as Portland’s fire chief, bringing Boone full circle from becoming the city’s first African American woman firefighter in 1995 to its first African American chief.

Boone was selected because she impressed an interview panel with “her commitment to community, her technical knowledge, her passion for the fire service and her leadership style,” said Hardesty, the Fire Bureau commissioner, who in January became Portland’s first female African American city councilor.

Hardesty said she is confident Boone “will make sure our city is safe and cared for under her watch.”

“I am deeply honored to be the next fire chief of Portland Fire & Rescue, a bureau I hold in high esteem because of the men and women who serve with honor, integrity, and sacrifice.” Boone said in a statement. “My mission has always been caring for the city where I was raised. I am committed to ensuring that our responsiveness and our professionalism live up to the highest ideals of service, integrity, and equity.”

Boone was raised in Northeast Portland and attended Lincoln High School where she excelled in track and field, according to a biography provided by Hardesty’s office. She went to Boise State University on an athletics scholarship, graduated with an education degree and began exploring a teaching career when she met a fire inspector who encouraged her to consider firefighting.

Boone joined Portland Fire & Rescue more than 24 years ago as an entry-level firefighter and rose through the ranks to become the division chief leading medical services and training before being appointed chief.

— Gordon R. Friedman

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©2019 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

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