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City of Portland Selects Community Safety Transition Director

Press Release
City hires Mike Myers as Community Safety Transition Director

Today, after a national recruitment Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty and Mingus Mapps announced that Mike Myers, a seasoned Portland community safety leader has been selected to serve as the City of Portland’s first community safety transition director.

As community safety transition director, Myers will work alongside Council offices, community leaders, Portland Fire & Rescue, the Portland Police Bureau, the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, and the Bureau of Emergency Communications to co-create a community safety strategic plan. The strategic plan will span multiple years and will integrate diverse voices and perspectives into redesigned public safety policies and services. Reporting to the City’s chief administrative officer, this position also supports public safety bureaus by providing long-term planning and change management capacity.

Myers will step down as director of Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Management and begin serving as Portland’s community safety transition director on April 1. In this new role, Myers will work closely with public safety chiefs and directors to advance a suite of initiatives identified by City Council to transition Portland’s current public safety model into a holistic community safety system that aligns resources and systems to improve services and outcomes for the community. An interim director for the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management will be announced in the coming weeks.

"Safety looks and feels different to different people,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “We understand that more and different tools are needed, that police agencies are only one part of a broader public safety system – but they are not the system,” he said.

Myers began his public safety career in 1986, when he joined Las Vegas Fire & Rescue. Over the next 26 years, he rose through the ranks – serving as the Las Vegas fire chief from 2011 until 2013. Myers briefly served as fire chief in St. Charles, Mo., before being hired by former Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman to serve as Portland’s fire chief from 2016 until 2019. Myers began leading Portland’s emergency management bureau later that year.

Myers earned a Bachelor of Science in healthcare administration and is nationally recognized for his innovative approach to public safety. Under Myers’ direction, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue earned reaccreditation with the Centers for Public Safety Excellence and maintained an Insurance Services Office (ISO) protection class one rating. At the time, Las Vegas was one of the only fire departments in the world to hold both designations.

“Director Myers’ experience, innovative thinking, and ability to find solutions proven to improve community safety is exactly what Portland needs in this moment as we respond to the public’s call to rethink community safety for all,” Hardesty said.

As the commissioners who oversee Portland’s public safety bureaus, Hardesty, Mapps and Wheeler interviewed finalists for the new position this month. They said Myers established himself as a capable leader for the city’s transformation. 

“Portland is long overdue for an interconnected approach to our public safety system,” Mapps said. “We have selected a visionary leader who has displayed a keen ability to create solutions that drive systemic change.”

This is an important opportunity for Portland’s public safety bureaus to align efforts and collaborate with our many valuable partners to build the future of community safety,” Myers said. “I am excited and grateful to lead these initiatives."