Candidates run for Clackamas Fire Board
Five candidates have put their hats in the ring for two open positions on Clackamas Fire's Board of Directors in the May 2021 election.
Damascus resident Chris Hawes, Damascus resident James Brown and Oregon City resident Greg Stoll are running for Position 2 on the board. Eagle Creek resident Jay Cross and Clackamas resident Glenn Watcher are running for Position 4.
Cross, who is currently president of the Clackamas Fire Board, has served on the board since 2017. He also served on the Boring Fire Board prior to the department's integration with Clackamas Fire.
Cross is an EMS officer for Gresham Fire and hopes to continue working with Clackamas Fire's board.
"We are truly a team, with each person playing a role. It's been a privilege and a joy to work with these people," he said, citing ensuring a balanced budget and supporting the new fire chief as priorities if he is reelected. "I've been in emergency services for 34 years. I understand service delivery, data and analysis"
Watcher is the associate vice president at Providence St. Joseph Health and serves as the chairman of the board for Parrot Creek Child and Family Services. He's worked in healthcare leadership for 25 years.
Watcher believes his background "connects with the system of care" provided by fire departments.
"Where I can bring value is as a strategic excellerator and systems thinker," he said. "When there's a strategy established, I'm thinking of ways that we can make it come to life."
Watcher said supporting firefighter health through programs like peer counseling and meeting safety standards is a priority.
"I'm excited about finding new ways to support the community," he said.
Candidates run for Position 2
Hawes, who works in construction management, was involved in the campaign to integrate Boring Fire with Clackamas Fire.
"I've gone to most of the board's meetings since then," he said, adding that he also ran for the board in 2017. "It's one of those services in government that actually matters."
Hawes' prior government involvement includes serving on the Sunrise Water Authority Commission, Sunrise Water Authority Budget Committee, City of Damascus Budget Committee, City of Damascus Committee for Citizen Involvement and the Emergency Communications Upgrade Project Citizen Accountability Commission. He is also involved with Clackamas Fire's annual Operation Santa Claus project.
"I'm pretty good about decision making, listening to everybody and trying to work through it. I'm good at digging down to what the reality of a situation is," he said, adding that the fire board should value what's best for citizens and firefighter safety.
Brown, who owns Gresham Grocery Outlet, has served as a volunteer firefighter in Tillamook, Seaside, St. Helens, Lincoln City and Molalla. He moved to Damascus six months ago.
"I can bring a business owner's perspective of managing dollars (to the board)," he said. "I'll be able to come in and have a fresh set of eyes for Clackamas County, and bring new thoughts and ideas and support the current directors."
Brown added that the role of the board should be to support the operations of the district.
"The job of the board is to support the department, and not trying to get into operations," he said, adding that working through the fire chief creates important checks and balances.
Stoll, who is a member of the Oregon City Planning Commission, has worked as a paramedic in Multnomah and Clackamas counties. Prior to that, he worked as a firefighter in the Salem area.
"As anyone who has seen me at the Oregon City Planning Commission meetings knows, I can filter out things that are not applicable and get to the root of the decision that needs to be made," he said.
Stoll said that the Clackamas Fire Board can best serve the community by listening to citizen concerns and ensuring that firefighters have all that they need to properly respond to calls.
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