New Zone System in Portland, Ore.
The Portland, Ore., fire department chiefs, with the mayor, have devised the following plan, which will go into effect January 1 and will be known as the zone system. It will effect most of the 200 men in the department:
Under the system three zones are established, the first where the salary will be $100 a month, taking in fire stations in the business district; the second where salaries are lower, taking in stations farther out, and the third where salaries are lowest, taking in stations on the outskirts. Promotion from one zone to another will be made on merit and length of service.
New firemen will begin in the third zone and work up to the first zone, where wages are highest and the work is hardest. After reaching the first zone they may be placed in any other zone on the first zone pay as long as they keep up efficient work.
In checking up the men it has been found that many of those now entitled to go into the first zone are unwilling to make the change, because they have purchased homes near the stations in which they are at present detailed. As a result some of these men will he reduced materially in salary because of their unwillingness to take first zone duty. This has caused considerable dissatisfaction.
It has been found that, although provision is made for increases in the salaries of the men every six months until they reach $196 a month, no provision has been made in the city 1914 appropriations for these increases, and it is likely that the men will have to serve a year before petting any increase.