2021 Board ELECTION candidates

The following individuals have submitted a bid for candidacy for a seat on the Board of Directors, and have been approved by the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association (OFCA) Fit for Duty Committee. If you are a voting member of OFCA, you will receive an electronic ballot by email to select the incoming Board of Directors. Please note that only active members in good standing are eligible to vote. To check your membership status, click here to login

2nd vice president candidate: one vacancy, UNcontested

chris heppel, interim fire CHIEF

Eugene-Springfield Fire & Rescue

"Thank you for this opportunity to present my qualifications for 2nd Vice President with the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association. I began my 33-year career with the Air Force in 1987 as an enlisted aviator ultimately accumulating over 5,500 flight hours on fixed and rotary-wing aircrafts. During my 20 years on active duty I participated in military, disaster and humanitarian operations worldwide specializing in strategic airlift, combat search and rescue, and isolated personnel recovery. I retired as the Operations Superintendent of the 66th Rescue Squadron, Las Vegas in 2007 at the rank of Master Sergeant. During my military career, I found an interest in Emergency Medical Services. My EMS career paralleled my military duties as I worked as a paramedic and supervisor in private, cooperate and hospital-based EMS systems in Atlanta and Las Vegas. Upon retirement, I returned to Eugene and was hired by Lane Rural Fire/Rescue. I started with LRFR as a Firefighter/Paramedic and moved through the ranks to Assistant Chief. While my efforts focused on Lane Fire Authority’s training and EMS programs, my daily responsibilities also included ambulance and north battalion operations. In 2017, I transitioned to Eugene Springfield Fire and assumed the position of Deputy Chief of Strategic Services.

Since May 2019 I have been the Interim Fire Chief overseeing a merged department that supports over 287,000 citizens.

My duties and influence on the fire service extend beyond my daily responsibilities. Routinely, I teach for the National Fire Academy and deliver leadership and operational level classes across the Pacific Northwest. I chaired the OFCA’s EMS Section leadership and training sub-committee for over four years and was a board member. For the last two years I have held an OFCA Board of Director Seat 6 position. I am currently on the Fit for Duty and Meritorious Service Awards Committee. Additionally, I was on this year’s DPSST NFPA 1021 Officer Qualification Committee and was recently selected to the State Task Force on School Safety.

I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve the OFCA board in a higher capacity."


Deric Weiss, fire CHIEF

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue

"After nearly five years of serving [on the Board], I believe I understand the responsibilities, expectations and commitment necessary to provide a valued service as a member of [the OFCA]. I have not taken the role lightly, and believe that my experience and abilities, in conjunction with a desire to support and promote OFCA initiatives will continue to provide you with valuable support. I believe I have contributed in a positive way and have collaborated with other board members towards the goals of the association. I welcome the continued challenge that this position creates.

Although I am the fire chief for a large combination department, I have demonstrated that my interest lies with the good of all organizations across the state whether large or small. In the past five years, I have organized the large career roundtables, provided liaison with BCD, worked on the Rebuilding Committee with OSFM and OFMA, and I currently sit on the 2020 Wildfire Code Committee, and the Oregon Fire Code Advisory Board. In addition to these responsibilities, I worked to secure funding for the OFCA Health and Safety grants that were distributed to fire departments across Oregon last year and will work to continue this grant opportunity in the future.

There is more that the OFCA can accomplish in the coming years, and I believe it is critical to have representation from different sized departments on the board to balance objectives and direction. If re-elected, I will continue to utilize my resources to advance those objectives for the greater good. I appreciate your support and look forward to serving the OFCA and you in the coming years."


Klamath County Fire District No.1

"I currently serve as Deputy Chief at Klamath County Fire District No.1 in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  KCFD1 is a career department staffed by 71 dedicated fire service professionals.  KCFD1 is an ALS transporting agency responding to over 7800 incidents annually.  As Deputy Chief, I oversee training, fire prevention & investigations, and EMS.  I have been employed by KCFD1 since 2017 and employed in public safety since 1997.

I am seeking election to the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association Board of Directors.  I have served on the OFCA Board in an interim capacity for the past 12 months.  As an interim Director, I was appointed to represent the OFCA in matters related to Oregon OSHA’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Thanks to training and preparedness, the Oregon Fire Service immediately responded to the COVID-19 threat ensuring the safety of our personnel and the public we serve.  As your OFCA representative, I worked tirelessly to minimize OR-OSHA’s impact on the fire service during the COVID-19 temporary rulemaking process.  If elected, I plan to continue to represent the OFCA to ensure OR-OSHA rules do not contradict fire service best practices.

I am steadfast in my commitment to fire based EMS.  I believe the fire service is and should remain the gold standard for EMS delivery.  It is important the OFCA stays abreast of suggested legislation, GEMT, and private ambulance company agendas.  I plan to influence lobbying in favor of fire based EMS and expanding GEMT legislation.  I currently serve as OFCA’s liaison to the Oregon State Ambulance Association and if elected I plan to continue to serve in this capacity."

James Oeder, FIRE CHIEF

Nestucca Fire & Rescue

"[Serving by appointment for the last year] on the OFCA Board, I have gained even more knowledge of the workings and business that is presented to this group. With the positions I have held in OVFA, OFIA, the DPSST Board, Fire Policy Chair, and many Committees, and with my diverse background of 30 years as a volunteer, and the last 12 years as a Division Chief, and now the Chief of a Combination District, I believe I will continue to bring experience and knowledge to this group."


Pendleton Fire & Ambulance

"I have had the distinct honor of serving as the Fire Chief of Pendleton Fire & Ambulance since August 2019. Prior to serving as the Fire Chief in Pendleton, I served as Fire Chief with the City of Tucson in Arizona. I have been a part of the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association since 2000. In that time, I spent 10 years on the Western Fire Chiefs Association board, which included time as President and International Director. I was always impressed with the quality of Chiefs in Oregon, and that is one of the reasons I chose to pursue being a Chief in Oregon upon my retirement from Tucson.

Throughout my career, I have striven to lead with humility, honesty, and integrity. I would like to use my experience to help where I can. I am learning a new state system and I understand I am new to all of you. It would be an honor to continue to work for the fire service on important issues impacting our state as a member of the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association Board of Directors."

mitch snyder, FIRE CHIEF

City of Gresham Fire & Emergency Services

"I am honored to submit my name for a Director Seat with the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association. I have enjoyed serving in the recent months as co‚Äźchair of the Legislative Committee, and would like to continue to help with the OFCA's efforts within the capacity of a Director.

I have worked through the ranks of Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Division Chief, to the position of Fire Chief. During my tenure, I have been a member of several progressive fire organizations and a member of the WSCFF, WSFCA, IAFF, IAFC, and OFCA. The first 26-years of my career provided me with emergency response experience associated with urban, suburban, rural, and wildland urban interface scenarios. As a high energy individual, most of my assignments have been at the busiest of stations with a department response total of approximately 30,000 calls per year. The past eleven years of my career have been devoted to administrative services, with the last two years serving as the Fire Chief for the City of Gresham, Oregon.

As an extroverted and personable communicator with a proven track record in the fire service, my focus on building strong professional relationships has been an asset throughout my career. I am looking forward to contributing to the OFCA with my strengths and proficiency in communication."

Patrick Wineman, division CHIEF

Forest Grove Fire & Rescue

"I serve Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, and neighboring Gaston Fire District and Cornelius Fire Department, as the Division Chief of Operations & Training. I offer 24 years of prior experience as a firefighter, EMT & Paramedic, Company & Chief Officer, DPSST Training Coordinator, and collegiate educator. In addition to two Associates Degree’s in Fire Science & Paramedicine, I have been conferred a bachelor’s degree in Fire Service Administration and a Master of Public Administration degree. I am a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program from the NFA and have also been conferred the Chief Fire Officer designation by the CPSE.

In my 12-years with OFCA, I have benefited from many conferences, educational venues, & an opportunity to provide testimony in front of committees at the state capital. Having been the benefactor of these services, I feel compelled to offer a return on this investment by committing time and energy in support of the OFCA mission in the role of Director.

My platform is two-fold: First and foremost, is service to the OFCA and its business for the Oregon Fire Service. Secondly, I am a committed lifelong learner, trainer, & educator. It is my hope to enhance the Oregon Fire Service through an educational and training lens, preparing company and chief officers to better meet the challenges of our evolving and complex fire service. I would focus on efficiencies with regional fire training associations, promote and support professional development and credentialing, and ultimately increase support of Company- & Executive-level personnel to engage and complete the Managing Officer & Executive Fire Officer Programs through the USFA’s flagship leadership programs.

It is truly and honor & privilege to be considered for service as a Director of the OFCA, its members, and their mission."

robert murphy, fire CHIEF

Newport Fire Department

"I started my fire service career in 1991 as a resident volunteer at Polk County Fire District # 1 and attending the Fire Science Program at Chemeketa Community College. Four years later I earned an AAS Degree in Fire Protection and another in EMS and my Paramedic License, and started working as a FF/Paramedic. In 2003, I moved to Newport and joined Newport Fire Department as a volunteer. In 2007, I was hired as the training officer. In June of 2011, I was promoted to Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal. I have served as the Fire Chief of Newport Fire Department since January 1, 2015.

Some professional honors include City of Newport Employee of the year 2008, past chair of the Lincoln County Ambulance Service Review Committee, and appointment to the Mayor's homelessness taskforce. I am also the Fire Defense Board Chief for Lincoln County since June 2018.

I joined OFCA in 2011. In June 2019 I was appointed to fill a vacant director seat expiring in June of 2021. Serving as a Director has been a privilege and professionally satisfying. The Board of Directors is filled with dedicated leaders who strive to move the Fire Service forward. They look out for their members and are always striving for excellence. It would be an honor to be able to continue to serve on the Board."


25030 SW Parkway Ave

Suite 330

Wilsonville, OR 97070

(888) 846-5741 / ofca@ofca.org

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