Forest Grove Fire & Rescue Chief Jim Geering. Photo courtesy FGF&R.

Forest Grove Fire & Rescue has a new fire chief. 

Chief Jim Geering, who began work Wednesday, November 17, will serve as the head of many of western Washington County’s fire agencies and districts, including Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, the Forest Grove Rural Fire Protection District, Cornelius Fire Department, Cornelius Rural Fire Protection District, and the Gaston Rural Fire Protection District. 

These fire agencies and districts have a number of intergovernmental agreements between them to share resources or contract fire services out to Forest Grove Fire & Rescue.

According to a press release from Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, Geering served for 35 years in California at the Chula Vista Fire Department in a number of roles before retiring in 2020 as that agency’s fire chief, a role he held beginning in 2014. 

The city of Forest Grove said that their selection process included several interview panels made up of community, technical, peer and staff members. 

Among those who provided input in the process was Cleo Howell, President and board member of the Forest Grove Rural Fire Protection District, the agency tasked with fire protection services in Gales Creek and other rural communities surrounding Forest Grove.

“I was very much part of the process,” Howell, a Gales Creek resident, said during a Thursday afternoon phone call. Howell said he helped craft questions for the candidates, and interviewed all of them as part of one of the panels, and gave input into the selection of the new chief.

“I think that he will be an effective leader for the rural fire district,” Howell said. 

We rely on subscribers to keep the lights on in our little newsroom. Join us with a digital subscription today, $15 off through the end of November for your first year with an annual subscription, or $8/a month. Click here to subscribe.

“I am so impressed by the warm, and hospitable nature of our community members, as well as the professionalism of the city of Forest Grove leadership and members of Forest Grove Fire and Rescue,” Geering said. “It is an honor to be selected as Fire Chief, and I look forward to serving the cities of Forest Grove, Cornelius, and our rural district partners.”

During his time with the Chula Vista Fire Department, Geering wore many hats before leading the agency from 2014 until his retirement in 2020. 

“[Chief Jim Geering] held every rank within the organization including Firefighter, Engineer, Fire Captain, Training Officer, Fire Inspector, Fire Investigator, Fire Marshal, Battalion Chief, Deputy Chief, and Assistant Chief,” Forest Grove Fire & Rescue said. 

Geering holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Studies from California State University, Long Beach, and was certified by the California State Board of Fire Services as a Chief Officer.

Geering was credited by the FGF&R press release as having created an ambulance program at Chula Vista Fire Department that saved money, increased ambulance availability, and improved response times. 

He served on a number of local fire-related boards. 

Married for 26 years to his wife Hannah, together they raised four daughters. Geering was also active in a number of community-based organizations in California.

He replaces longtime Chief Michael Kinkade, who retired in January after 12 years of service to Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, and takes over after two interim fire chiefs led the agencies, Patrick Wineman and Patrick Fale.