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Firefighter union pushes back against criticism over what they say is a routine practice.

COURTESY PHOTO: OPB - Portland firefighters are allowed to use their downtime to read, cook meals, or shower at the city's fire stations, but the city auditor says they aren't allowed to wash their personal vehicles at the stations there.A months-long investigation by the Portland Auditor's Office has reached a conclusion following a fraud tip last summer: that a firefighter wasted taxpayer resources by washing his personal vehicle with city water while on the clock.

The audit report comes as a surprise to Portland firefighters.

"I just don't understand why the auditor would even address this issue," said Isaac McLennan, who has been with Portland Fire Bureau for 20 years and is president of the Portland Fire Fighters' Association, IAFF Local 43 — the union representing them. "This is a longstanding practice. This is something that's been entrenched in our culture since automobiles and water existed together."

The investigation involved matching the firefighter's work schedule and personal vehicle to the description in the tip, as well as asking the firefighter if he washed his personal vehicle with city water. He said yes.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of Pamplin Media Group. Their full story can be found here.


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