Fire chief bids Colton farewell
At the April 29 special meeting of the board of directors of Colton Rural Fire Protection District #70, Fire Chief Richard "Beau" Beaudoin submitted his letter of retirement/resignation.
"While it is not an easy decision to make after 11 years serving with what I consider my second family, it was the right decision for me at the right time," he wrote in the letter. "I have been considering this for the last three to four years. While I will be turning my 30-day notice in, I will remain in Colton until (the interim chief) is comfortable and up to speed. I look forward to hopefully seeing everyone prior to leaving and saying goodbye in person."
The board has begun interviewing for the interim position and will call an executive session at the board meeting on June 8 to discuss interviewed candidates.
In addition to his duties in Colton, Beaudoin is also a full-time career firefighter/EMT in Salem, where he will continue. Along with serving as the part-time chief of the Colton Fire District, he spent a year as interim fire chief for Estacada.
"I will miss the people at Colton Fire and the Colton community and all its support," Beaudoin said, "but I won't miss the hours and will enjoy more time with my family."
Beaudoin said his main goals when he was hired by Colton Fire were to make sure the department had the capacity to respond to emergencies and to mend relationships with mutual aid partners. He said besides having to purchase radio upgrades twice due to federal compliance standards changing, the department has added to its supply of emergency response equipment. The additions include two fire engines, four duty rigs, one brush rig and new turnouts for the volunteer firefighters.
"I am extremely proud of the part the Colton fire crews played during last year's wildfires," Beaudoin said. "Their hard work and dedication -- working 150 to 200 hours straight -- paid off, and in the end we lost no houses within the Colton fire district. The community came together to support our volunteers and the district during and after the fires."
He noted the local fire district has doubled the number of emergency calls to more than 600 in each of the last two years and recognized that department volunteers have an extremely high percentage of survival when responding to cardiac arrest calls.
The Colton community's Insurance Service Office standings have improved since Beaudoin took the helm. The ISO scores fire departments on how they are doing against its organization's standards to determine property insurance costs, its website says. According to Beaudoin, the majority of Colton went from a rating of 6 to a rating of 4. The improved score saves homeowners several hundred dollars in insurance costs per year. He did add that some of the southern areas of Colton still rank at a 10 mostly due to no fire hydrants in the area.
"Together as a fire department we depend on each other for our lives and we have a tight bond," Beaudoin said. "I will miss Colton."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.