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The former chief in Chula Vista, California, will also oversee Cornelius and Gaston fire agencies.

COURTESY PHOTO: FOREST GROVE FIRE & RESCUE - Jim Geering previously spent 35 years as a firefighter in Southern California.Forest Grove Fire & Rescue announced Thursday, Nov. 18, that Jim Geering will be its new fire chief.

Geering comes to Forest Grove from the Chula Vista Fire Department in Southern California, where over 35 years he rose the ranks from firefighter to chief before retiring in 2020.

In his new role, Geering will not only serve as Forest Grove's municipal fire chief — he will also be the fire chief in Cornelius, as well as chief of rural fire protection districts covering the Forest Grove, Cornelius and Gaston areas. That's the same position formerly held by longtime chief Michael Kinkade, who retired in January.

"I am so impressed by the warm, and hospitable nature of our community members, as well as the professionalism of the City of Forest Grove leadership and members of Forest Grove Fire & Rescue," Geering said in a news release. "It is

an honor to be selected as fire chief, and I look forward to serving the cities of Forest Grove, Cornelius, and our rural district partners."

According to Forest Grove's news release, Geering instituted a new ambulance program in Chula Vista, which saved money, increased the number of ambulances available and improved response times.

Policymakers in western Washington County have discussed ways to improve the efficiency of local emergency services. Before retiring, Kinkade led several meetings to explore the possibility of merging the Forest Grove, Cornelius and Gaston fire agencies into a single district, which he said would be more operationally efficient.

The fire chief selection process in Forest Grove included several interview panels composed of community, technical, peer, and staff members to assure broad-based and diverse input, according to the news release.

In California, outside the firehouse, Geering also served on the executive board of the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association, the Chula Vista Boys and Girls Club, and the South Bay Family YMCA. He also volunteered as a youth league baseball coach. He and his wife, Hannah, have four daughters.


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