Portland Fire & Rescue

Mike Myers left his position as Portland's Fire Chief in January and moved to Cannon Beach to run the city's emergency management program. But, it appears, it was a fleeting move. According to Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty's office, Myers has agreed to return to Portland in June—just five months after his departure—to lead the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM).

As commissioner, Hardesty oversees both Portland Fire & Rescue and PBEM. While Myers left two days after she entered office, Hardesty says they've built a strong connection over shared values.

"I started meeting with Mike Myers even before I was elected as commissioner and I was impressed with his vision," said Hardesty in a Monday morning press release. “When I was aware that he really wanted to focus his career in emergency management, I reached out to him to see if we would consider coming back to Portland to work with me in this arena and I was overjoyed when he said yes.”

Myers will be taking on a changing bureau.

Since entering office, Hardesty has taken steps to guarantee all communities and neighborhoods are granted fair involvement in emergency response plans and access to emergency preparedness tools.

One of her first proposals as commissioner was to delay the city's deadline for building owners to label their earthquake-unsafe buildings (called Unreinforced Masonry buildings, or URMs) if they can't afford the costly retrofits to improve a building's safety. Since many members of the African American community were unaware of these changes until the last minute, or needed financial assistance to avoid the "Scarlet Letter" of a URM label, Hardesty asked council to slow down the process for the sake of equity. They did.

It will be Myers' job to orchestrate the roll out of this labeling program next year—along with strengthening other policies to help us survive the ever-looming Cascadia Earthquake.

Myers echoed Hardesty's excitement about his hire in a press statement:

“I never dreamed an invitation like this would present itself. I’m so energized to work under Commissioner Hardesty’s visionary leadership and return to give my very best to Portland residents in a new capacity," Myers said. "The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management is critical to public safety and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic to collaborate with such a talented group of individuals."