Fire Marshal's Office places former CRFR division chief on 'stand-down'
A former Columbia River Fire and Rescue employee has been placed on stand-down status with an Oregon State Fire Marshal Office's Incident Management Team after the office reviewed an investigative report into Ron Youngberg that revealed a pattern of policy violations and harassment at Columbia River Fire and Rescue.
Youngberg, a former CRFR division chief who left the district in 2016 on the heels of an internal investigation that supported claims of harassment and policy violations during his 25 years with the district, was placed on stand-down status in August with the state agency, according to OSFM spokesman Richard Hoover.
Hoover previously stated officials from the state office had no intentions to review the investigative report, a copy of which was anonymously provided to the Spotlight. The Spotlight first reported on the document July 7.
"As the report is covered under attorney-client privilege, we have not reviewed the report nor do we intend to," Hoover stated in an email to the Spotlight dated July 26.
Hoover also stated that Youngberg's years of service with the state fire marshal had been "without incident."
"Ron Youngberg has never been the subject of disciplinary action or investigation as it relates to his time on, or mobilization with, the Incident Management Teams," he reported.
Several weeks later, however, Hoover stated that the office had reviewed the document and had subsequently placed Youngberg on stand-down status.
"A stand-down status indicates he is not eligible to be deployed. We made this decision since receiving and studying a copy of the CRF&R investigation report," Hoover stated in an Aug. 25 email.
Youngberg was part of the Blue Team unit which was mobilized to the Nena Springs Fire in mid-August. That same unit was recently deployed to the Chetco Bar fire in Southwest Oregon. Youngberg was not deployed with that unit.
Youngberg was sponsored and supported by CRFR until he retired from the district shortly after completion of the investigative report. Several months after he retired, Youngberg obtained sponsorship from the Rockaway Beach Volunteer Fire Department and reapplied to serve with OSFM as a deputy incident commander.
Youngberg was categorized as a trainee for the position, according to Hoover.
Hoover had not replied to a request for information from the Spotlight regarding plans for Youngberg's long-term status with the State Fire Marshal's Office as of press time Thursday.