Site Map Icon
RSS Feed icon
You are not currently logged in.
The Professional Fire Fighters of Albany, Oregon Local 845


The Fire Fighters of Albany Fire Fighters Local 845 serve our city of over 50,000 people, which sits in the heart of western Oregon’s Willamette River valley, on the banks of the Willamette and its tributary, the Calapooia River. From its river town beginnings, Albany has grown south and east with the railroads, state highways and Interstate 5, and across the Willamette into the farms and wooded hillsides of North Albany.

The City of Albany lies within both Benton and Linn counties. Albany is the largest city in Linn County and serves as the county seat. Albany is also the second largest city in Benton County.

Albany is credited by historians and architects with having the most varied collection of historic buildings in Oregon. This collection includes styles from the 1840s through the late 1920s and is concentrated in an area of about 100 square blocks. Four historic districts are listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.

Albany is known as the rare metals capitol of the world. Several local industries produce zirconium, hafnium, and titanium. Wood products, food processing, and manufactured homes production are major employers also.

Municipal government operates under a home rule charter in a Council-Manager form. Six City Councilors  are elected to represent three geographic wards, and have overlapping 4-year terms. The Mayor is elected at large every two years. A full-time City Manager administers the affairs of the City for the Council.

Mitt Romney, In his own words
Who is Mitt Romney? The answer depends on who he is speaking to at the moment. But where he has never wavered is his consistent hostility toward professional fire fighters. Watch and listen to what Mitt Romney says about fire fighters -- in his own unvarnished words.

Former Albany Firefighter dies in fall

Nathan Turner, the 30-year-old climber who fell off Beacon Rock in Washington along the Columbia River and died Sunday evening, was a former Albany firefighter. Fire Chief John Bradner said Turner began his career in Albany as a resident volunteer. He was hired as a full-time firefighter/paramedic on July 12, 2004. He resigned from that position in August 2007, to go to work for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. He lived in southeast Portland. ?Nate was an extremely nice person and a pleasure to be around,? Bradner said. ?He was a dedicated firefighter and paramedic, and he will be missed by family, friends, the Albany Fire Department and the fire service community.? To honor Turner, Albany fire officials are wearing mourning bands over their badges through Monday, Aug. 1, the day of his memorial service. Several people from the department are going to the service along with the ladder truck from Station 13 on Three Lakes Road. Turner fell about 5:30 p.m. Sunday and rescuers initially believed he only had a broken arm and leg. Circumstances surrounding the fall are under investigation by the Skamania County Sheriff?s Office. Undersheriff Dave Cox said Turner and climbing partner Michael Aubry of Portland were rappelling down the South Corner route when Turner fell. Cox believes that Turner tumbled more than 100 feet. Beacon Rock is an 848-foot-tall monolith 35 miles east of Vancouver. Tualatin Valley Chief Mike Duyck said in a news story, ?Nate was an outstanding firefighter and member of the TV&R family. He served the department and community well. He will be greatly missed.? Turner?s service starts at 4 p.m. at Western Mennonite School, 9045 Wallace Road N.W., west of Salem. Read more:

What's New at 845
Letter from Global Mission Readiness
Download: File-18-06-2014-08-58-15.pdf
Overdue recognition for Brian Vorderstrasse

Brian Vorderstrasse, far left in the back row, as he looked during his days as a Navy C-130 mechanic at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. The Navy’s rules on facial hair were relaxed for those serving near the South Pole.

Overdue recognition

Brian Vorderstrasse was barely three years out of Lebanon Union High School when he found himself helping out in the aftermath of an international tragedy.

Three decades later, he was honored by the New Zealand government in Washington, D.C.

Vorderstrasse, now a 51-year-old Albany Fire Department lieutenant, was a Navy C-130

mechanic in Antarctica when navigational error caused an Air New Zealand DC-10 to crash into the frozen continent’s 12,447-foot Mount Erebus on Nov. 28, 1979.

All 257 people aboard were killed.

Then 21, Vorderstrasse had been trained by New Zealand mountaineers in para-rescue — parachuting into remote locations to render medical aid. In addition to his work as a mechanic, part of his job in Antarctica was giving survival instruction to Navy pilots.

Following the crash of Air New Zealand Flight 901, Petty Officer 2nd Class Vorderstrasse was specifically requested by his Kiwi comrades to help with the body recovery effort.

“I was the only Navy para-rescue man to work on the recovery,” Vorderstrasse said. “The New Zealand Police were trying to do the whole job themselves, but I had worked with them about three years. I was one of the bigger guys, and they needed some muscle. It was pretty strenuous work.”

Vorderstrasse was part of a 16-man mountaineering unit that was helicoptered in and divided into four groups of four. Every day of the two-week job was broken into 12-hours shifts, with two groups covering each shift.

It was the mountaineers’ job over the course of the project — Operation Overdue — to ensure the safety of the four dozen body recoverers and incident investigators as they worked at the crash site, 1,465 feet above sea level.

Most of the dead — 200 of them — were New Zealanders, but seven other nations, including the U.S., lost citizens aboard the flight.

Positive identification was eventually made on 213 of the victims; a burial service was held Feb. 22, 1980, for the 44 whose remains could not be identified.

That same year, Vorderstrasse received “a little plaque” honoring him for his work following the crash. He completed his time in the Navy — four years active duty, two years as a reserve — returned home to the Willamette Valley and went to work for the Albany Fire Department, where he’s been for the last 26 years.

While he was building a career and raising a family — Vorderstrasse and his wife, Dawn, have two children — the New Zealand government was working to develop a Special Service Medal “to recognize service in extreme and hazardous circumstances,” according to the New Zealand Defense Force.

The first round of medal recipients, in 2002, were people who had worked in New Zealand’s nuclear testing. The second, in 2005, were those who assisted following the Asian tsunami the year before.

The Mount Erebus recovery crew members are the latest group to be honored, and Vorderstrasse and 12 other Americans received their medals June 4 at the New Zealand embassy.

“There was a video of the prime minister (John Key) at the ceremony,” Vorderstrasse said. “He said, ‘You’re one of the home team.’”

Speaking in person was Commodore David Anson, head of New Zealand Defense Staff in Washington.

“Today we have formally acknowledged the personal courage and commitment to a ghastly task in the wake of a tragic accident,” Anson was quoted as saying in a press release on the event.

He also noted that there are still about 20 U.S. citizens who need to be located so they can be presented with their medals.

Story by Steve Lundeberg. He can be reached at and keeps a blog at

Thank You Letter from Ron Lake and Family

Dear Fraternal Brothers and Sisters,


            I am honored to be associated with the men and women of the IAFF through Albany Fire Fighters Local 845. Once again, in a time of need and crisis, you all have given above and beyond to meet the needs of my family. I have been deeply moved by your abundant thoughtfulness and charitable acts. Moreover, I know many of you are going through personal and family tragedies of your own; yet without hesitation, you have reached out to help us. The generosity of you and your families has been and continues to be astonishing. Please use the provided link to Courtney’s website and stay in touch with her recovery progress of which you all play such an important part.


Thank you all very much,


Ron Lake and Family

Albanyfirefighters Local 845 on cover of International Firefighter Magazine
Earlier this summer Senator Obama and Oregon Congressman Defazio came to Albany Oregon for a Presidential rally. Albanyfirefighters were called to provide medical support for the Obama team. After Senator Obama spoke we were able to meet the senator as well as have our picture taken with them.
Albanyfirefighters Union Local 845 Back Konopa!!

Firefighter union backs Konopa

Albany’s firefighter union is endorsing Councilor Sharon Konopa for mayor in the November general election.

Union President Jason Katzenstein made the announcement Monday.

She is running against Charlie Smith and Mayor Dan Bedore, who was appointed to the post in January following the death of Doug Killin.

The 68-member association also is supporting incumbent Floyd Collins in Ward I, Bill Coburn Jr. in Ward II and incumbent Jeff Christman in Ward III.

In Oregon House District 15, the union prefers Democrat Dick Olsen, a member of the Albany City Council, over Republican incumbent Andy Olson. And in the presidential contest, the union favors Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. John McCain.

“That is because Obama is a strong supporter of collective bargaining rights,” Katzenstein said.

In the House race, union members like Olsen because he is a longtime councilor who knows Albany and has supported firefighters in the past, he said. Olson does not have that much direct experience with Albany firefighters, he added.

Katzenstein said the union is making no recommendations in the Linn County Board of Commissioner races. He declined to say why.

Konopa, who has represented Ward II for 12 years, gained the union endorsement because of her strong support for public safety and her position on responsible growth in Albany, Katzenstein said.

Collins, who is being challenged by North Albany advocate Bill Root, was endorsed for his support for public safety, as was Christman, who is opposed by Frank Frenzel.

Coburn is seeking Konopa’s seat, as are C. Jeffery Evans and Mike Styler.

The union likes Coburn because he sits on the city’s public safety commission and is familiar with firefighters’ challenges and duties.

“Our decisions weren’t easy to make because there are lots of good candidates,” Katzenstein said.

This is the second general election in which the union has endorsed candidates. The first was in 2006.

“For us, becoming politically active ensures that our firefighters and the community’s safety are a priority,” he said. Katzenstein said the five-member union board arrived at the endorsements after interviewing all of the candidates.

Copyright © 2014, All Rights Reserved.
Powered By UnionActive™

134318 hits since Jun 08, 2007

Top of Page image