Hood River’s new fire chief tendered his resignation on Thursday, ending his brief career in the Gorge that same day.
Greg Hoeger, 52, came on board in March to replace longtime chief Gary Willis, who retired to work in the family pear industry. Hoeger arrived from Sacramento, Calif., where he had served as the assistant fire marshall in a department of more than 500 firefighters. Although he has enjoyed living in a rural community, Hoeger decided after serving four months of his six month probationary period that he was ready for a return to his hometown.
“He basically decided there were other opportunities in California that he wanted to pursue and that is what a probationary period is all about — it gives both parties time to evaluate the position,” said Hood River City Manager Lynn Guenther.
City officials will now go back to the drawing board to select a new chief to fill the vacancy left by Hoeger’s abrupt departure. The job pays an annual salary range of between $55,000-$62,000, depending on experience.
In the meantime, Captains Clay McCrea and Manuel Irusta will oversee operations at the Hood River department, which is manned by 13 staffers and 15 volunteers. In addition, Guenther said the pair will be charged with fulfilling the terms of Hood River’s new contract to provide emergency service protection in Cascade Locks.