After more than 38 years of dedicated service to the fire service profession and almost 35 years with the Bellevue Fire Department, Fire Chief Mark Risen announced his retirement Friday.
Risen served as Bellevue’s interim fire chief for nearly a year before being appointed to the position permanently in May 2015. His last day will be Sept. 29.
“Mark is an effective leader and one who will be remembered for his distinguished service to the community,” said City Manager Brad Miyake. “Mark has boldly managed the transition of our fire department from a suburban to an urban service provider. He has been a tremendous asset to the city organization as he leaves the department well-positioned to meet the city’s growing needs.”
“I am very grateful for the tremendous support that both the City Council and City Manager Miyake have provided the fire department during my tenure,” said Fire Chief Risen. “Having the community support the passage of the Fire Facilities levy and property acquisition for Fire Station 10 were absolutely essential to the future of the fire department and its ability to provide service at the current level. We have amazing people in the fire department and I have every confidence in their ability to manage the department well into the future.”
Chief Risen joined the fire department as a firefighter and held the ranks of firefighter/engineer, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, deputy chief and fire chief. As chief, his accomplishments include Bellevue voters approving the Fire Facilities property tax levy in November 2016 that will fund the construction of a new fire station and improve existing fire stations, the department maintaining its accreditation and Class II rating, managing the transition of the department and promoting others to fill vacant positions as 25 percent of senior fire personnel retired during this period, and restoring staffing that was lost during the economic downturn.
Upon Chief Risen’s retirement, Deputy Chief Todd Dickerboom will serve as Interim Fire Chief. Plans for the future recruitment of a new fire chief are still to be determined.
The Bellevue Fire Department assists the public in the protections of life and property by minimizing the impact of fire medical emergencies and potential disasters or uncontrolled events. Since 1998, the department has been accredited by the Council for Public Safety Excellence and maintains a Class 2 rating from the Washington State Survey and Rating Bureau. The department also provides services to the communities of Beaux Arts, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, Medina, Newcastle and Yarrow Point.