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The Hallowed Grounds of Portland Fire & Rescue

The city of Portland boasts many historic features and monuments.  Portland Fire & Rescue is historically notable for its presence in various communities across Portland. 

Two properties stand out because of their relevance to the sacrifice of Portland Firefighters during their service to the community.  These are the Hallowed Grounds of Portland Fire & Rescue.

Of special note is the current development of the site of the David Campbell Memorial.  Established in 1928, it has served as a tribute to Fire Chief David Campbell and as a marker for Portland Fire & Rescue's other line of duty deaths.  It is currently under renovation, which will include the addition of the Portland Fallen Firefighter Memorial, a comprehensive tribute to all Portland Firefighters who have died in service to the citizens of Portland.  The completed facility will be dedicated as "Portland Firefighter Memorial Plaza."

The David Campbell Memorial

The David Campbell Memorial was built as a tribute to Fire Chief David Campbell who died in the line of duty on June 26, 1911.  At a large fire at the Union Oil Plant at SE Water Avenue and Salmon Street, Campbell, while evacuating his crews from the fire building, was killed when an explosion collapsed the building he had entered.  He was unable to escape.  The Portland Community began a fundraising campaign to pay tribute to Chief Campbell and create a fund to care for disabled firefighters and their families.  The effort evolved into the creation of the David Campbell Memorial. 

Internationally renowned architect Paul Cret was chosen to create the monument.  It would be completed in 1928 and dedicated at the annual service to remember David Campbell on June 26, 1928.  It remains a historic monument to David Campbell and the architecture of Paul Cret.  

The David Campbell Memorial plaza is located at W 18th and Burnside Street in Portland.  The public began a fundraising effort soon after Campbell's death.  The memorial would be completed in 1928.  In 1962, Portland Firefighter Park would be added to the east side of the plaza when the triangular piece of property was expanded and the intersection re-configured.  The intersection has undergone many revisions over the decades.  The upper photo was taken in 1931.

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"National Registry Of Historic Places" - The David Campbell Memorial plaza, located between SW Alder, SW 18th, and SW 19th in Portland, Oregon, is a well known fixture in Portland.  It was funded by public contributions and completed June 28, 1928. 
 
In 2010, a person named Hope Svenson, on behalf of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation and the Architectural Heritage Center submitted the application to  the US National Park Service "Registry of Historic Places."  This is significant for providing protections and recognition of the site.  On August 12, 2010, the US National Parks Service accepted it to their registry.   The application is an interesting and comprehensive historic look at the David Campbell Memorial and Portland Firefighter Park.   Click on the PDF Symbol to access the story.

The "Firefighter's Section" at Lone Fir Cemetery

On November 16, 1862, Colburn Barrell (owner of the Lone Fir Cemetery property) and his wife deeded the Portland Fire Department a 100 x 100 foot square plot of land within the Lone Fir Cemetery.  Block 5, which would come to be known as the “Firefighter’s Section,” was reserved for any Portland Firefighter who would choose to be laid to rest there, at no cost (of the burial site) to the family.

 

To date, 146 burials have been made in the Firefighter’s Section.  139 were once firefighters in Portland, four are spouses and three the child of a firefighter.  Twelve members are Portland Firefighters who have died in the line of duty.  Their stories are compelling tales of bravery and sacrifice. 

 

Located in the heart of the greater cemetery, the Firefighter’s Section is marked by a concrete post in each corner and a rose garden and flagpole at its center.  Grave markers are adorned with the markings of the fire company under which these firefighters so proudly served. 

 

While all of the firefighters buried there are notable, the twelve line of duty deaths have graves distinguished with a commemorative maker identifying them as a line of duty death. 

To find the Firefighter's Section, enter Lone Fir Cemetery on the east side roadway coming from 601 SE 26th Avenue.  Follow the main road west until it ends, then turn right.  The next intersection will find the Firefighter's Section on the right.  It can be identified by the flagpole and garden at it's center.  In the garden is a sign identifying the site.  Block markers will indicate Block 5.  

The Story of Lone Fir Cemetery

 

The story of the establishment and evolution of Lone Fir Cemetery is a fascinating and historic tale.  Since its origins in the 1850s, Lone Fir has undergone different ownership as well as the ebb and flow of care.  The cemetery covers 30.5 acres and is the resting place for over 25,000 people.  To learn the stories of Lone Fir is to learn the history of Portland.  The document here is a full history of Lone Fir Cemetery.  Click on the link to open it.  

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Additional information on Portland Fire History can be found at PortlandFireHistory.com