CRR fire chief resigns position


Board issues statement

Former Crooked River Ranch Fire Chief Tim McLaren has resigned his post.

Asked the reason for the resignation, the Ranch Fire Protection District Board of Directors on Monday referred to the statement issued by the board, which reads:

“On Jan. 6, 2014, the Crooked River Ranch Rural Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors accepted Chief McLaren’s resignation. Chief McLaren determined this to be a time to change his relationship with the district and the board wishes him all of the best as he continues his career."

Bob Bengtson, board president, continued, "The CRRRFPD’s board has appointed assistant Fire Chief Mark Wilson as our interim fire chief."

"This move has been seamless and does not affect the level of service our firefighters provide to this community," he concluded.

Neither Ranch nor fire board directors would comment on the resignation, and attempts to contact McLaren, who was not listed in the Central Oregon telephone directory, were unsuccessful.

The Ranch telephone operator could not find his name or telephone number in the office files. However, Ranch files do not list the contact data of renters, if that was his status. It was noted that he lived on the Ranch at one time.

The statement the fire board provided was true, but uninformative as to why McClaren resigned, what was learned from him doing so or how it might have been avoided.

Is that important for Ranchers to know? There might have been a scenario which would have put Ranch spokespersons at risk of being sued if they divulged the details publicly.

On the other hand, it is important for Ranchers to know if CRR boards are managing their respective organizations well and fairly and treating their personnel acceptably. Given the lid on facts about McLaren’s departure, it doesn’t appear that Ranchers will ever know how or why it came about.

No Ranch residents attended the fire board meeting, which was announced in advance, other than the staff and volunteers.

McLaren started work at the department in February 2007. During his tenure at the department, he helped pass a five-year capital and operating levy of 69 cents per $1,000 assessed property value in 2008, and got it renewed by voters in 2013.

The levy allowed the district to have 24-hour staffing, with five full-time employees, including the chief, and lower response times to the district.

McLaren also instituted effective training programs, which attracted other fire departments from around the state; provided information and photos from emergency events; and ran the popular “Shopping with a Fireman” program every Christmas season.

The board had not yet initiated active recruitment of a new fire chief at the time of its Monday meeting.