Doug Kelly started Dec. 1 as Chief Administrative Officer and Fire Marshal for West Side Fire District, succeeding Jim Trammell, who has retired from fire service after 50 years.
“I am very pleased to say that I excited to be at West Side Fire District and look forward to many years of serving this community and working with the incredible staff,” Kelly said. The district spans the north end of the Hood River valley, west and south of Hood River city limits, and has two bases of operation: The Tucker Road substation, where offices and some response vehicles are stationed, a mile south of Hood River, and the original station on Barrett Drive in Rockford, another two miles west.
Kelly served in Redmond for seven years, most recently as as Division Chief of Fire Training and Emergency Medical Services.
Although originally from Texas, Kelly grew up in the Portland metro area. After high school he attended Oregon State University and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in 1997. He worked as a fisheries technician until joining the fire service a few years later. He became a volunteer at Corvallis Fire Department in 2000 and was hired as a firefighter/paramedic at Corvallis Fire in 2002, and worked as an acting in capacity lieutenant. During his time at Corvallis Fire, he was on the special rescue team (rope rescue, water rescue, and confined space rescue), Hazmat Team, and a member of the Linn-Benton Regional SWAT Team.
“Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Corvallis, I moved to Central Oregon in 2007 and was hired at Redmond Fire & Rescue as a Battalion Chief of EMS,” Kelly said. He was promoted to a Division Chief a few years later and has been involved at the local, regional, and state level chairing many Boards across Oregon in many disciplines related to the fire service and healthcare.
“I am humbled by the generosity of the members at West Side Fire District,” Kelly said. “They are all truly professionals at serving the community — most of the staff are volunteer firefighters and EMTs, which is amazing for the service level provided. Everyone at West Side Fire is committed to public safety and very involved in the community.”
Asked about his biggest strengths as a fire administrator, Kelly said, “I have served as a chief officer for over 12 years. During that time I have been in a leadership role overseeing the Emergency Medical Services program and fire training for a busy department. I bring experience in decision making with over 20 years in the fire service as well as a professional and caring attitude to this position.”
Kelly credits both Trammell and Lieut. Josh Beckner with a smooth transition, saying they “have been terrific about sharing the legacy of the district, current and past program management, and how business and 911 responses have been conducted.
“West Side Fire District is a great fire district,” Kelly said. “I bring fresh set of eyes to the operations and experience from larger departments to help streamline communication while assisting in other areas that may benefit the district."
Kelly takes over a department that has freshly-upgraded facilities: Rockford station and Tucker Road were seismically improved in 2020, via a $1.25 million Business Oregon grant.
“It’s a wonderful thing to walk into a fire district and see the work that has been done to bring the stations to the latest standards. Chief Trammell and Chief (Chris) Nickelsen have done an amazing job on the seismic upgrades,” Kelly said. “With a project as large as seismic upgrades completed I can focus on continuing to support the volunteers/staff.”
One interior feature that did not change with the upgrade is the hanging of the “Order of the Door” signs. Annual honors, hand painted on wooden panels, go to firefighters who have suffered some kind of embarrassing mishap in the previous year. Most every volunteer has been so honored at least once, Trammell and other veterans included.
“I think it’s very funny!” Kelly said of Order of the Door. “Now, I just have to watch out to not receive the award in the future.”