Erin Janssens was sworn in Tuesday afternoon as Portland's fire chief. She's the first woman to hold the job.
Janssens did not see eye to eye with Randy Leonard when they crossed paths eighteen years ago. Back then, she was one of the only women working in the Portland Fire Bureau. He was president of the firefighters' union. Leonard filed a lawsuit opposing Janssens' promotion to Lieutenant ahead of more senior male colleagues.
But now, Leonard, the Fire Bureau commissioner on City Council, is the one who he tapped Janssens to take the job as the city's 22nd chief.
As she was sworn in, Janssens said there’s no tension remaining between her and Leonard.
"You know, Randy has always been a straight shooter," Janssens said. "It was about the premise of changes the city was going through. It wasn't personal."
She played down the historic nature of her appointment, saying only that she was proud and humbled to take the job.
At the end of this year, Commissioner Leonard will leave office. The next mayor will choose a new commissioner to supervise the Fire Bureau after November's election. Janssens is taking over from John Klum, who's been fire chief since 2008.