On Wednesday, February 5th the Woodburn Fire District welcomed two new firefighters to the fire district career staff.  Firefighter David Nelson and Firefighter Jeffrey Robinson have filled vacancies left by Firefighter James Lang and Firefighter Jared Weaver who recently accepted positions outside of Woodburn.

Although new to their positions, neither Nelson nor Robinson are strangers to Woodburn. Nelson came to Woodburn in 2022 as a student in the district’s student residence program. While completing his Fire Science program at Chemeketa Community College and obtaining his EMT certifications, he was able to work alongside career firefighters to gain additional experience. Nelson competed in the district’s fire skills assessment process, earning his spot on the hiring eligibility list. When asked about the district, Nelson stated, “There was something special about Woodburn. All the career firefighters really made me feel like part of the family early on as a student and volunteer. I am really excited about being a part of the community and fire district.”

Robinson is no stranger to the fire service. His dad, also a firefighter, retired from Portland Fire & Rescue. Jeff began his work with the Woodburn Fire District in 2016 as a volunteer and quickly became a leader amongst the volunteer members. He was awarded the 2023 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year. Robinson also serves as a member of the Hubbard Fire District’s Board of Directors. When asked why Woodburn, Robinson replied, “Woodburn Fire District gave me the opportunity 8 years ago as a volunteer. The membership here encouraged and mentored me while I completed the necessary requirements to obtain a career position. This is why Woodburn Fire feels like home and I wanted to continue to serve there.”

Nelson and Robinson have joined Woodburn Fire following an extensive hiring process that began in the fall of 2023.  The top applicants from an initial written test were invited to an assessment center that evaluated candidates’ education and experience and their firefighting and emergency medical skills.  Following the assessment center, the candidates were placed in ranked order on a hiring eligibility list.  Nelson and Robinson came out high on the list and were invited to further interviews and comprehensive background checks.  “It is always exciting to have new members join the fire district,” state Fire Chief Joe Budge. What makes the hiring of these two members even more special is that they have come up through the ranks and have been a part of the Woodburn Fire family for several years. Having the opportunity to participate in their journey and witnessing their hard work, commitment, and diligence towards becoming career firefighters is quite the endeavor. We couldn’t be prouder to have these two members join the ranks of career firefighter.”

Like all newly hired firefighters Nelson and Robinson will undergo an intensive year-long training program with-in-depth coverage of the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively perform their duties. Nelson has been assigned to Station 22’s Engine company and Robinson to Station 21’s A Shift company.  Their swearing in ceremony was held before the Woodburn Fire District’s Board of Directors at their regular board meeting on February 21st.