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Fire Chief Matt Benedict Retires

From Chief Benedict:

"I have always wanted to be a firefighter since an early age, according to my mother. I was fascinated with the flashing lights, red fire engines, since of family, and the heroic work they do. I was cautious as I had a fear of heights and a fear of talking to people I didn't know. To this day, I hide it very well. As stated by the Board of Directors, I had difficulty managing the communications within the organization from top down and bottom up. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

After graduating high school in 1987, I took the easy road and pursued a career and degree in business management with a computer science minor. I always thought about firefighting and could not get it out of my head. Grades were not the best, as I was not 100% dedicated to it. In 1989, I said its time to jump in with both feet and overcome those two fears. I started by talking to Clackamas Fire District and Oak Lodge Fire District to get a feel for the fire service. I also spent time talking to a Portland Fire Bureau firefighter about making this a career.  I was hooked and started at Portland Community College Fall of 1989 and graduated in 1992. Pioneer Community College (Wilsonville, OR) - Paramedic 1993-1994."


Matt Benedict's Career

Internships/Student Firefighter through Portland Community College 1989 - 1993:

1991-1992 Lake Oswego Fire Department

1992 Hoodland Fire District

1991 - 1993 Contract with USFS

1993 Clark County Fire District #11 and 12



2003-2015 East Umatilla County Health District  


Part-time paid:

1993-1994 Clark County Fire District 11

2009 Helix RFPD Fire Chief  


Full-time paid:

1994-1998 Pendleton Fire & Ambulance Firefighter/Paramedic

1998-2007 Pendleton Fire & Ambulance Lieutenant/Paramedic

2007-2014 Pendleton Fire & Ambulance Captain/Paramedic

2014-2016 Pendleton Fire & Ambulance Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal

2016-2019 Cannon Beach RFPD Fire Chief

About Our Department with Fire Chief Benedict 

About three years ago Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District was faced with the daunting task of finding new recruits.  After some major political transitions within the department we lost 18 of our most experienced volunteers over a time span of three years, leaving us with a significantly reduced number of volunteers.  Most of the remaining volunteers were not as experienced and it was hard to fathom fighting a fire effectively and efficiently.  Through our new leadership at that time, we were able to recruit 6 new volunteers, train the entire department to be proficient, and place others in leadership positions to guide us toward our vision.  We provide professional, integrity driven, compassionate, honest and quality service to the District and surrounding communities.

This crisis has transformed our District from being “that department” to being “The department.” Surrounding agencies have taken notice and some desire the same progress. The individuals have utilized their generational differences in creating a more diversified organization with high proficiency, and adaptability. We transformed into “this is how you do it” Department. The growth and hard work of the men and women on the department is through the guidance and leadership of Matt Benedict.

From the Firefighters to the Phoenix

"When you came to our department almost three years ago, we were crumbling and had completly lost ourselves. 

You came into Cannon Beach with a mission to lead our department and create a community that is dedicated to providing Cannon Beach with quality professional services. 

Within the last few years, we have been able to rebuild and grow stronger through your guidance and leadership. We have been able to test ourselves mentally and physically with your encouragment and the lieutenants support.

Many of us believe that without your leadership, we would not have been able to rebuild as successfully as we have. 

Through your leadership, hardwork and dedication, you have allowed us to perservere and rise up from the ashes."

In short, we can't thank you enough for helping us grow. We wish you, Amanda, and Kevin the Fire Pug a great retirement. Our doors will always be open to you, with a hot cup of coffee ready.

May contain: painting, art, and dragon