Public open house with two final candidates scheduled Sept. 5 at fire station

The Woodburn Fire District is inviting the public to meet the two candidates being considered for the fire chief position during an open house set for next week.

The open house will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 5 at the district's headquarters, 1775 Newberg Highway.

Paul Iverson, chief of the district since 2010, announced in April that he will retire this year, although he has remained in active duty while the district's board of directors conducts a search for his replacement.

The board has contracted with the Prothman Company, an executive recruitment agency, to conduct the search. The city of Woodburn used the same recruitment firm in 2015 when looking for its new police chief.

The two finalists for the fire chief position are both based in Oregon and both have decades of experience in fire service.

One of the candidates is Dennis Hoke, who has 42 years of fire and emergency service experience. He has been fire chief of the Illinois Valley Fire District in Cave Junction since 2013. Prior to that, he worked at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado from 2004 to 2013, first as deputy fire chief, then as fire chief for almost five years.

In his career, he has been an Army deputy fire chief at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, deputy fire chief at the Anchorage Fire Department in Alaska, fire chief for the Army at Fort Richardson in Alaska, and fire chief at the Fort McCoy National Guard & Training Installation in Wisconsin. He has also served as a volunteer captain and paramedic for Sable Altura Fire Rescue in Colorado.

He has a bachelor's degree in fire science and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program.

The other candidate is Joseph Budge, who has been with Portland Fire & Rescue since 1988. In his time there he has worked in positions including training captain and battalion chief. He is currently deputy chief of the medical services and training division.

During his time with Portland Fire & Rescue, he was also a volunteer emergency medical technician for the Vernonia Volunteer Ambulance Association. At the start of his fire service career, he worked as a volunteer firefighter for the Hillsboro Fire Department.

Budge has an associate degree in fire protection technology from Portland Community College and a bachelor's degree in fire service administration from Eastern Oregon University.

The board is holding a special meeting on Sept. 6 to continue the hiring process. Most of the meeting will be held in executive session as the board will be interviewing the candidates.

Julia Comnes can be reached at 503-765-1195 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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