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Lake Oswego picks Larry Goff to be next fire chief

LOFD's current assistant chief will take over in January, replacing retiring Chief Ed Wilson


GOFFAssistant Chief Larry Goff, who has worked for the Lake Oswego Fire Department since 1982, has been named Lake Oswego’s next fire chief.

Goff’s appointment will take effect on Jan. 16, 2016. He replaces Chief Ed Wilson, who announced his retirement in September after more than a decade with the department.

“Chief Goff has earned the respect of his colleagues, both in Lake Oswego and in the larger region, due to his leadership in fire and emergency management issues,” City Manager Scott Lazenby said Monday in announcing the appointment.

“He’s the right fit for the department," Lazenby said. "His appointment is also a positive reflection on Ed Wilson’s 11-year tenure as chief. The consistent message I heard through the recruitment process was that we needed someone who would continue Chief Wilson’s legacy of building one of the best fire departments in the state of Oregon. I am confident Chief Goff will do that.”

As assistant chief, Goff has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department, including the fire, EMS, rescue and hazardous materials divisions. He’s also a member of the committee in charge of the city’s emergency management program.

During his tenure at the LOFD, Goff has also served as a firefighter, fire prevention officer, battalion chief and interim fire marshal. From 1985 to 2009, he was a member — and for part of the time, chairman — of the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue board, which oversaw the merger of the Tualatin Rural and Washington County #1 fire districts to become Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.

Among many other professional affiliations, he has served as president of the Oregon Fire District Directors Association. Goff is also the current chief of the Clackamas County Fire Defense Board.

“I’m honored.” he told The Review after his appointment was announced Monday. “I’m looking forward to leading a great department and serving a fantastic community that’s very supportive, and to continue doing a lot of the same things we’ve been doing under Chief Wilson. I think we’ve been a very effective and cost-effective fire department, and we want to continue that and continue to improve where we can.”

Wilson’s retirement becomes official on Jan. 15, 2016, although his last day on the job will be Dec. 30. His departure from the department is one of several announced in the past few months; in addition to Wilson, Lt. Steve Olson and driver engineers Mark Anderson and Ted Maas made the transition to retirement in August.

Last month, five new firefighters were hired after an extensive recruitment process. Daniel Hires, Zachary Bell, Nathan Sigler, Nathan Weikel and Nicholas Fiorante are all currently undergoing training with the department.

Wilson has been a popular and highly regarded chief, both for the LOFD’s service record under his leadership and his active role in the community. Police Chief Don Johnson called him "the finest public safety partner with whom I've ever worked.”

“He has done some amazing things here in Lake Oswego," Johnson said, "especially in our survivability rates for victims of sudden cardiac arrest — our 26-percent rate is remarkable. There is no better legacy."

Goff also spoke highly of the department and of Wilson’s leadership, saying he hopes to continue his predecessor’s work. On Monday, Wilson called Goff "an amazing resource for me during my tenure as fire chief."

"I relied heavily on Larry’s counsel over the year’s when making decisions for our organization," he said, "and to be honest, he was right more often than I was."

Wilson praised Goff's fire-service background, which he said dated back to the new chief's time "as wild-land firefighter in Arizona."

"He has dedicated the majority of his career to making the Lake Oswego Fire Department better — better for our members and better for the community that we serve," Wilson said. "His background in fire prevention, emergency management, emergency operations and EMS will serve the department well during his time as fire chief."

Goff said he plans to appoint a new assistant fire chief “down the road” to head the operations division, but will continue to be involved in the city’s emergency management program while serving as chief. He told The Review that he applied for the chief's position at the end of November and was the only applicant from within the department.

“Since Chief Wilson announced his retirement, it was something I was obviously thinking about and hoping to be able to do,” Goff said. After a series of interviews with the city, he was offered the job on Monday.

Goff will take over as fire chief on Jan. 16, once Wilson’s retirement is official.

Contact Anthony Macuk at 503-636-1281 ext. 108 or amacuk@lakeoswegoreview.com.

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