PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Fire Chief Mike Myers resigned Thursday, citing a desire to move to the Oregon coast.
According to a statement from Portland Fire & Rescue, Myers said his resignation was a personal decision.
“I love the coast and my wife has already moved there and it is my strong desire to join her,” Myers stated.
Myers’s resignation came a day after Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty was sworn into office. She replaced former Commissioner Dan Saltzman and now overseas Portland Fire & Rescue. Myers presented Hardesty with her safety helmet earlier on Thursday before his resignation was announced.
Hardesty said Myers told her in person about his plans to resign.
“I am personally so sad to lose his leadership and friendship,” Hardesty said, according to PF&R. “His vision for a vibrant city was exactly what we need, and I am disappointed to not work on his plan together.”
Hardesty told KOIN 6 News there have been a number of positions in leadership that have experienced turnover and she’d like to understand why, now that she’s a city commissioner.
“It is kind of disappointing because the city has a lot of director positions that are open and that’s troubled me before I got here,” she said. “I don’t really know why that is but that seems to indicate there are some problems at that level, at that top management level.”
Myers joined the Portland fire bureau in July 2016. He said he will be taking a position as the emergency manager for the City of Cannon Beach.
“I have every faith that the leadership of Portland Fire & Rescue will continue to serve the city of Portland at the highest level,” said Myers. “My only regret is that I was very excited to work with Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and her team.”
Other colleagues, including firefighter and Portland Firefighters Association Vice President Isaac McLennan, seemed genuinely shocked by Myers’s decision.
“I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” McLennan said.
McLennan told KOIN 6 News that Myers was particularly skilled at articulating the bureau’s needs to city leaders.
An interim chief has not yet been named.