Bilingual Fire Boss Rule Stirs Controversy

By Melica Johnson and KATU.com Web Staff

SALEM, Ore.—Some English-speaking firefighters are losing their jobs because of an Oregon state law that requires them to be bilingual.

The Department of Forestry enacted a law three years ago that requires them to be bilingual, but this year they’re actually enforcing it.

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Jim Walker of the Department of Forestry said “what we do know is 85 percent of the crew make-up is of Hispanic decent.”

But many of the Hispanic fire fighters do not speak English. Walker says the language barrier is a concern.

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