Presidents’ Update

Fellow OFMA Members:

Your OFMA Board has encouraging news to share. We have been actively working on Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC) Appendix N and the concerns it has raised in partnership with the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association (OFCA) and the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM). This work to date has led to the following:

  • The Building Codes Division (BCD) has the authority under state statute to take these actions and did so as a result of advice provided to them by the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ).
  • OSFM is working with the DOJ to clarify the authority to enforce provisions of the Fire Code at construction.
  • OSFM reached out to and met with BCD to discuss improving interagency communication.
  • OFCA Board President Chief Tim Moor (Redmond Fire & Rescue) has taken the steps below.
    1. Directed Legislative Committee Chair Assistant Chief Les Hallman (TVF&R) to contact the Governor’s Office to make them aware of Oregon Fire Service concerns with the process with which Appendix N was adopted.
    2. Formed a BCD Task Force chaired by Assistant Chief Deric Weiss (TVF&R) to address all issues related to BCD. OFMA 1st Vice President John Patterson is our representative on this Task Force.
  • The Governor’s Fire Service Policy Council (GFSPC) chaired by Assistant Chief Les Hallman (TVF&R) convened a group to examine OFMA / OFCA concerns about the Oregon Fire Service relationship with BCD and how to improve it. The Governor’s Office has been made aware of these relationship concerns.

All of these efforts have led the Governor’s Office to establish its own workgroup to take the lead on resolving issues between BCD, OSFM, and the Oregon Fire Service. OFCA and OFMA (1st Vice President Patterson) representatives had a positive meeting with the Governor’s Office on Wednesday, Feb. 21 that included individuals from BCD, OSFM and OBOA. The OFCA and the GFSPC are monitoring the progress made in this meeting and are prepared to provide additional input as needed.

Work to address your concerns is not always high profile and takes time to develop. I understand this time can be frustrating to those in the trenches performing the work. Please know that OFMA and OFCA are unified and firmly committed to seeing these issues resolved with a focus on:

  1. Strengthening the relationship between the Oregon Fire Service, BCD and building officials.
  2. Ensuring the ability of the Oregon Fire Service to integrate into local new construction approval processes.
  3. Developing guidance for how best to integrate into local new construction approval processes.

As your OFMA President, I am very optimistic about the actions the Oregon Fire Service is taking on these issues. We are:

  • Cooperatively headed in a positive direction that addresses the concerns we have heard regarding the relationship with BCD.
  • Moving forward in clarifying our role in constructing fire safe and fire code compliant buildings.

I ask for your continued patience as teams continue their work. Know that your interests are being represented as we move forward to find solutions. The Oregon Fire Code remains in full effect, and our responsibilities and authorities have not changed or eroded. I encourage you to continue working with your local building officials to keep those partnerships strong.

Please do not hesitate to contact me (michael@ofma.net) if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Michael Trabue, President