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  Meet Deputy Chief Greg Espinosa   Espinosa: 'There are two things I often say: Lead from the front and Don't ask people to do things you are not willing to do yourself'.  

Story by The Oregon Herald Staff
Published on Saturday May 15, 2021 - 4:50 AM
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he City of Hillsboro Fire & Rescue Department has fully staffed its leadership team with the recent additions of Deputy Chief Greg Espinosa and Division Chief Fred Charlton.

As deputy chief of operations, Chief Espinosa oversees the delivery of services from the department's 94 firefighters and paramedics. Fred Charlton, division chief of training, leads the department's education and training programs that encompass firefighting, rescue, and emergency medical services.

Chief Espinosa comes to Hillsboro Fire & Rescue after a 26-year career with Portland Fire & Rescue.

  • Serving in many roles, Espinosa began with six years as a firefighter and a member of the technical rescue team, and as a search and rescue diver.
  • He promoted and served 10 years as a lieutenant, and continued his service as a diver and with the technical rescue team. Four of these years were spent as a fire investigator and Oregon State-certified police officer.
  • Promoted to captain, he served four years managing the largest fire station in Oregon with 40 personnel.
  • His ascension culminated in a brief promotion to battalion chief, then┬ádeputy chief, managing four battalions, and 31 fire stations.
  • In addition to his operational roles, Espinosa was a member of many department committees, including strategic planning, budget, peer support, and diversity.

Chief Espinosa is eager to build new and meaningful relationships with Hillsboro Fire & Rescue members, City of Hillsboro staff, agency partners, and Hillsboro community members. His empathic leadership style is evident in his first few months on the job.

"There are two things I often say: "Lead from the front' and "Don't ask people to do things you are not willing to do yourself'. I believe these are two important components in leading a fire department," said Espinosa, who began his service with Hillsboro Fire & Rescue in February 2021. "I focus on both of these every day. I will help pick up hose, participate in drills and do the dishes if that is what's left to do."

Meet Division Chief Fred Charlton

Chief Charlton joins the department with a 32-year career in the fire service.

  • Beginning as a volunteer firefighter in 1989, Chief Charlton served until 1994 when he was hired as a professional firefighter/paramedic with the City of Milwaukie Fire Department. That department eventually merged into Clackamas Fire District #1 where Charlton has served most of his career.
  • He earned promotions, rising from firefighter to lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, deputy chief, and ultimately fire chief until his retirement in April 2021.
  • During his tenure, he received a meritorious service award in 2020 and a department leadership award in 2018.
  • Outside of the department, Charlton gave his time to the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association serving as president since 2019, as a member of the NW Fire Diversity Council since 2016, and as a Rotarian with Rotary Club of Clackamas since 2013.
  • Chief Charlton has taught as an adjunct instructor since 2010 with Eastern Oregon University and as an intermittent instructor with the Northwest Association of Fire Trainers.
  • Chief Charlton has received a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence, an Executive Masters of Public Administration, and bachelor's and associate's degrees.

Chief Charlton is focused on evaluating, supporting, and enhancing the Training Division to ensure it meets Hillsboro Fire & Rescue's mission and core values. He seeks to find efficiencies and continue to innovate for training delivery, use of technology, and staying focused on the needs of employees and the community we serve.

He will work collaboratively with City staff to deliver training and to support all City departments. Using a data-driven approach, Chief Charlton will review response data to determine the frequency and types of incidents to evaluate risks and outcomes.

"I want to support Hillsboro Fire & Rescue and the City of Hillsboro to the best of my ability using years of experience to support the great work already being done," said Charlton, who began his service with the department on May 3, 2021.

Chief Charlton looks forward to supporting the department in its growth and development of plans, including professional development and succession planning, to support the workforce and meet the challenges and opportunities as a public service agency.