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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rose City shakedown

The Portland police say they are after a guy who has been posing as a fire inspector and attempting to shake down Portland businesses. They're not saying whether he succeeded or not, but reportedly he tried out his con on several businesses in mid-January. So why wasn't the public alerted to this until yesterday?

It's also interesting that he tried it. Are shakedowns by real fire inspectors so commonplace that the businesses are accustomed to paying up in cash on the spot? Maybe in other places, but not in Portland, right?

Comments (10)

The whole system is a shakedown, and one of the reasons I gave it up downtown. Every tenant, every year, and it gets old after about three years in the same place.

"It's also interesting that he tried it. Are shakedowns by real fire inspectors so commonplace that the businesses are accustomed to paying up in cash on the spot?"

What a great scam. Everybody knows that Fireman Randy is outta office as of the end of the year. Nobody knows who the new shakedown guy is. So just show up and take the cash. Just like the urban legend parking lot attendant.

"Hi there! I'm the new guy. Randy sent me. Pay me in cash right now, for a year's protection in advance, and there won't be any problems. Have a good day!"

Portland Polite. Work hard during January and take the rest of the year off. You gotta love Portland!

No. The Fire Marshals in Portland are professional. We get inspected at some property annually. Corrections often required for things. I have never heard of a fine let alone in cash.

Have we ever seen Randy and the Shakedown Guy in the same place?

Everybody needs a hobby -- maybe this is how he stays vital in retirement.

Well Jack, he allegedly spoke with an "East Coast accent."
That might make him fairly easy to spot as not being from Portland Fire, which is almost a family business.
Oh, and where you from again?

Exit 15E.

Interesting, since when I had my business located on SW Market St. every fire inspection was conducted by a uniformed Portland Fire Fighter. And any billing was strictly by mail.

The shakedown by the Fire Marshals is old hat in downtown Portland. I've been a tenant for a while, and they come by every year with one or two people for about five minutes and leave me with a bill. Nice racket.

I'm sort of surprised anybody would fall for it. In the thirty years that I've owned or managed a small business I've been through many fire inspections (PDX and Tigard). They are always conducted by a uniformed fire official.

I guess if you are new to the business world you might fall for it, but not if you've been around awhile.

I do admit I was duped by a gal peddling employment law posters. The way she came on I figured she was from the state. I was wrong.

If the City tried to use workers who are not members of IAFF Local 43 to do inspections, there would be a grievance. It's bargaining unit work. It's meant to keep the fire fighters busy (after all, there are many fewer fire calls than there used to be--that's also partly why they are first responders to car accidents).

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