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Oregon's ex-fire marshal denies wrongdoing

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon’s fire marshal who resigned after being placed on leave amid a personnel investigation says was trying to help a colleague and he “didn’t do anything wrong.”

Oregon State Police placed Fire Marshal Jim Walker on leave Friday night, and he resigned Saturday. In a news release Saturday, State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton said only that a leadership change was needed to face the “unprecedented crisis” posed by the wildfires burning across the state.

Walker told KOIN that he was placed on leave after trying to help a co-worker whose family was missing in a fire zone.

“I did so with the specific understanding that my visit had been cleared with the appropriate team personnel,” said Walker, who added his superiors decided he had overstepped his authority. “And although I’m losing my job because of it, I would do it again.

Mariana Ruiz-Temple, the chief deputy state fire marshal, has been named to replace him.

Boats are partially obscured by smoke from a wildfire at a marina on Detroit Lake burned by the Beachie Creek Fire, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Detroit, Ore. (AP Photo/John Locher)