Three individuals suspected of committing arson in Mt. Tabor park last summer face charges related to fires started in Montavilla. Sophie Peel’s Willamette Week article outlines a series of offenses revealed by the Multnomah County grand jury indictment of the accused. In some cases, these incidents caused significant damage and loss of property.
Together, the three 18-year-olds face 14 charges, including three counts of arson in the first degree, six counts of arson in the second degree, four counts of reckless burning, and one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device. However, the sole Montavilla resident in the group of defendants received the brunt of the blame. He stands accused of all 14 charges, while his purported accomplices face only two counts.
An infographic in the Willamette Week article lists ten incidents, with seven in Montavilla. It includes a Creative Science School mattress and vegetation fire, a box truck fire at SE Hawthorne and SE 85th Avenue, a dumpster fire near 8827 SE Division Street, and a fire next to 8316 SE Taylor Street. Also among the more severe damage listed is a shed fire inside Harrison Park and an abandoned structure fire at 2336 SE 92nd Avenue. The article did not include the portable toilet fire at Harrison Park, as it appears not to be part of the indictment. However, some area residents believe the fire is related, having occurred around the same time as the shed fire.
According to a September 12th, 2022, statement by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s office, the accused individuals “each admitted to involvement in starting the fires” at Mt. Tabor Park during a Portland Police interview. These recent charges include only one criminal event from the initial questioning, with the majority of arson charges occurring in Montavilla. After the investigative focus on the three suspects, the number of malicious fires in the neighborhood dropped substantially, and residential angst about this issue subsided. This indictment should provide closure to several concerning incidents from last year.
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