The Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District (URFPD) is primarily a volunteer service with seven paid employees – Chief, Steven Potts, our full-time paid administrator of the District, who is assisted by FF/EMT Lieutenant Marc Matlack, FF/EMT Craig Bensen, FF/EMT Jordy McCracken, and FF/EMT Ethan Brown. Starting July 1st, 2021 we added two additional paid staff with FF/EMT Dakota Paola and FF/EMT Lee Watson. 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.

Chief Steve Potts
Chief Steve Potts has been with the URFPD as a volunteer since 1987. He served as interim chief near the end of 2015 before being hired full time in 2016. Chief Potts serves as the executive officer of the fire district and provides managerial direction and leadership to all volunteers/employees of the district

Lieutenant Marc Matlack
Firefighter / EMT
A veteran of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant Marc Matlack was a volunteer firefighter for the URFPD for six years prior to being hired full-time time in 2016. Lt. Matlack is responsible for vehicles and equipment, station upkeep, and administrative support to the chief. He attends BMCC part-time and enjoys spoiling his grandchildren.

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.

Our Volunteers

Lieutenant Zack Wilson
Firefighter / EMR
Lieutenant Zack Wilson has been with the URFPD since 2011 and serves as our maintenance coordinator. He is the owner of Columbia Basin Heating and Cooling. Zack enjoys hunting and spending time with his family.

Kerri Potts
Firefighter / EMT – Intermediate
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.

Carl Arbogast
Firefighter / EMR
Senior Firefighter Carl Arbogast has been with our department since 2003. He is the owner of Arbogast Cabinets. When not spending time with his family, Carl can be found on his VR flight simulator saving the world.

Jeremy Boggs
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 a supervisor at Lamb Weston in Hermiston. Nick enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, and gaming.

Samantha Jacks-Gunn
Firefighter / EMR
Samantha has been an active member of our department since July 2019 and is eager to learn the medical side of things in the fire department. Samantha enjoys spending her free time with her family, do it your self projects, and gardening.

Volunteer Today…

The Umatilla RFPD is always looking for members. Volunteer Now!