Fireboat Stolen for a 40-Mile Joyride in Portland, Oregon

Portland Fire boathouse
The thief broke into the PF&R boathouse near Portland's downtown core (file image courtesy Tony Webster / CC BY 2.0)

Published Sep 14, 2023 3:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

[Brief] Vehicle theft rates in Portland, Oregon have made national headlines, and the trend appears to extend to watercraft too - even watercraft owned by first responders.

Overnight Tuesday, an individual "unlawfully" entered the Portland Fire & Rescue boathouse on the Willamette River, just opposite the city's downtown core. The suspect stole a small rescue boat and drove it all the way north to the Willamette's confluence with the Columbia River.

With Coast Guard boats in pursuit, he continued north to the Port of Kalama, Washington, where he ran the launch aground. The total distance of the chase came to about 40 miles. 

After a foot pursuit, the suspect was caught and detained at about 0750 hours in the Kalama area, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. Portland Fire & Rescue reported that he was apprehended by coastguardsmen. 

The boat was taken under tow and brought to a pier in Kalama for inspection and evaluation. At minimum, it suffered propeller damage, according to the fire department. 

Prop damage on the twin outboards of PF&R Rescue Boat 21 (PF&R)

The suspect will be transferred to Oregon law enforcement authorities for processing.