Two fire district chiefs head east

Two of the Lebanon Fire District’s veteran chief officers are leaving the district in May and heading east. Battalion Chief Nick Tyler has accepted the Fire Chief position at the Sweet Home Fire & Ambulance District where he will replace outgoing chief Dave Barringer. Division Chief Jason Bolen has accepted a Deputy Chief position at Bend Fire & Rescue in central Oregon where he will serve as Bend’s new Fire Marshal. Both men, who leave with a combined 48 years of fire service experience, will each start in their new roles on May 16.

I am proud of both Chief Bolen and Chief Tyler,” said Fire Chief Joseph Rodondi. “They are exemplary employees who served the Lebanon community with great pride and commitment. It is no surprise that other fire organizations saw that same drive and commitment from them.”

Tyler moved to Sweet Home in 1991 and has been with the Lebanon Fire District since 2007. Prior to his service at Lebanon, he worked as a paramedic/firefighter with the Sweet Home Fire & Ambulance District for five years. Tyler also spent four years in the Navy from 1997-2001 as a gunner’s mate, and deployed to the Mediterranean, Baltic and Adriatic seas.

Tyler obtained associates degrees in emergency medical services-paramedic, fire science and general studies, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Oregon University in Fire Service Administration. He has held the ranks of firefighter/EMT, engineer medic, Lieutenant and currently Battalion Chief of C-shift. He is a wild land task force leader and serves on the State of Oregon’s Type I Incident Management Team. Tyler and his wife Rachel, a registered nurse at Lebanon Community Hospital, have two children, Aiden and Chloe, who are both very active in sports and enjoy the outdoors.

“It’s been a privilege to work at the Lebanon Fire District alongside some of the best firefighters and people that I’ve ever known,” Tyler said. “I have learned so much from them and have so many great memories of my time here. I look forward to taking my experiences at Lebanon and applying them to the Sweet Home Fire & Ambulance District, where I started my fire service career.”

Bolen grew up in Santa Barbara, Calif., and began his career with the Lebanon Fire District as a volunteer firefighter in August 1994, just three weeks after arriving in Oregon. He was later hired as a career firefighter/EMT in August 1996. Bolen holds a bachelor’s degree in fire service administration from Eastern Oregon University and an associates degree from Chemeketa Community College, where he graduated from Paramedic School in 2004.

Coincidentally, Bolen and Tyler first met as classmates in the paramedic program at Chemeketa where they quickly became friends and graduated together at the top of their class. Jason was promoted to engineer/medic in 2005, to Lieutenant in 2009, and to his current position as Division Chief of Fire & Life Safety in 2016 where he also serves as Lebanon’s Fire Marshal.

Bolen has extensive involvement with numerous civic organizations in and around Lebanon and serves on several state committees including the Governor’s Fire Service Policy Council, Chairperson of the Oregon Fire Code Advisory Board, and the Oregon Fire Code Committee. Like Tyler, Bolen is a task force eader and member of the State of Oregon Type I Incident Management Team. He also served as an elected official for Ward III on the Lebanon City Council and was the most recent council president until his resignation from council on April 13. He was a past trustee, vice president and president of the Lebanon Professional Firefighter’s Union, Local 2163.

Bolen and his wife Kelsey have two daughters, Cameron and Lauren, who attend Lebanon High School and Seven Oak Middle School, respectively.

“Accepting this position with Bend Fire & Rescue will provide me with an exciting new opportunity to grow professionally,” Bolen said. “The community of Lebanon and the Lebanon Fire District will always hold a special place in my heart. I know that we will miss so many people and places here, but knowing that we’re just a two-hour drive away makes leaving a little easier to accept. Our family loves to visit central Oregon, and to have the opportunity to live and work there is like a dream come true for us.”

When asked about the upcoming leadership vacancies, Chief Rodondi said, “We have a great organization with talented people. While Chief Bolen and Chief Tyler will leave big shoes to fill, the Lebanon Fire District has the organizational talent to fill those positions.”

A replacement process for Battalion Chief Tyler is being developed, and Deputy Fire Marshal Ken Foster will be temporarily appointed to the interim fire marshal position. Engineer Candace Hedding will be temporarily appointed the interim deputy fire marshal role, with both appointments taking place on May 1. Bolen’s final day at Lebanon Fire will be Thursday, May 5, while Tyler’s last day will be May 6. 

The fire district is planning a combined farewell event to be held at the MBVA Event Room, 550 Main Street, Lebanon, on Thursday, May 5, from 4-6 p.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend to wish Bolen and Tyler well in their new endeavors.