The Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District (URFPD) is primarily a volunteer service with seven paid employees – Chief our full-time paid administrator of the District, who is assisted by FF/EMTs Craig Bensen, Jordy McCracken, and Ethan Brown. Starting July 1st, 2021 we added two additional paid staff with FF/EMTs Dakota Paola and Lee Watson. FF/EMT Ray Harris later joined our staff in September. The volunteers of the Umatilla RFPD respond to, on average, over 550 calls for emergency services each year.

Please note that the URFPD is considered a special district and therefore is not part of the city of Umatilla . With that in mind, our 20 square miles of coverage includes both city and county locations. Our district goes west to the Umatilla county line, south to Bensel Road, to the eastern edge of the Wanaket Wildlife refuge, and of course north to the Columbia River.

Meet the Team

While volunteers make up the bulk of our organization, they couldn’t do it without the efforts of our paid employees. These folks take care of the day to day operations and maintenance to make sure when an emergency happens, we’re ready to respond.

Fire Chief
The Chief serves as the executive officer of the fire district and provides managerial direction and leadership to all volunteers/employees of the district.

Craig Bensen
Firefighter / EMT
Craig Bensen was a volunteer for the URFPD for three years before being hired in 2018. He currently serves as the programs coordinator which oversees recruitment / retention, and training. He also serves as our fire marshal.

Jordy McCracken
Firefighter / EMT
Originally from western Oregon, Jordy McCracken moved east to serve as a resident intern with the Umatilla County Fire District #1 where he was also able to earn a fire science degree from BMCC. Currently, Jordy oversees our resident intern program. In his off hours, Jordy enjoys hunting, fishing, and golf.

Ethan Brown
Firefighter / EMT
Having grown up in western Oregon, Ethan Brown spent two years as an intern with the Crooked River Ranch Fire Department while earning a fire science from Central Oregon Community College. Currently, Ethan oversees our junior firefighter program.  While not on duty, Ethan enjoys boating, skiing, and playing basketball.

Dakota Paola
Firefighter / EMT
Dakota is a Hermiston native and a recent graduate of BMCC with a degree in fire science. He was a resident intern for Umatilla County Fire District #1 for two years and has been a volunteer with our department since March 2021. In his free time, Dakota enjoys hunting, fishing, snowboarding, and playing basketball.

Lee Watson
Firefighter / EMT
Lee was born and raised in Pendleton. After graduating in 2003, he served in the US Army for 14 years as a military police officer. Lee has been a volunteer for Umatilla County Fire District #1 for the last three years, with two of those years as a resident intern. When not at work, Lee enjoys spending time with his family, especially his new baby girl.

Ray Harris
Firefighter / EMT
Ray started as a volunteer with Echo Fire in 2011. He is a 2017 graduate of the resident intern program at UCFD#1 where he continues to volunteer. During his down time, Ray is an advocate for autism, enjoys riding horses and 4-wheelers, hunting, leather working, and spending time with his family including his two young daughters.

Our Volunteers

Kerri Potts
Firefighter
Kerri Potts has been a valued member of the URFPD since joining in 1997. She currently serves as our ems coordinator. Kerri is a registered nurse in the emergency room at Good Shepherd Medical Center. She enjoys travelling and spending time with her family and friends.

Jeremy Boggs
Firefighter
Jeremy has been an active member of the department since 2014. When not responding to calls, Jeremy can be either found at work driving a semi or driving his boat up and down the river hoping to catch the ‘big one!’

Nick Funke
Firefighter / EMR
Nick started his volunteer firefighting career in 2011 with the Moscow (ID) fire department and UCFD#1 before joining us in late fall of 2018. He currently serves as our IT support when not working at Amazon. Nick enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, and gaming.

Volunteer Today…

The Umatilla RFPD is always looking for members. Please click on the link below to download the application. Once completed, please email it to jeannie.bowman@umatillafire.org