Police: 14 arson identified crimes so far

Taxpayers Association of Oregon

We have collected over a dozen different examples of outdoor arson that have occurred in the past weeks (from July until September) across Oregon, Washington and California.

#1. Police arrested a man for arson over Sweet Creek Fires.  Oregonian notes “A 44-year-old man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of arson in a wildfire that has burned nearly 400 acres and prompted evacuations west of Eugene, deputies say”

#2. Police in Washington arrested a man who was caught setting a brush fire  along SR-167.  Police were forced to close the northbound ramp on the highway.

#3.Police arrest arson suspect arson in Almeda fire.  KOBI-TV News reports: “A person was arrested for allegedly starting a fire during the Almeda Fire….The sheriff’s office said Bakkela was charged with arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment in connection with the alleged arson in Phoenix.”

#4. Arson arrest in Spokane, WA:  KHQ-TV 6 News is reporting that police have arrested a woman for multiple arson incidences; “According to Spokane Police, Officer Mohondro arrived on scene he saw some grass and a pallet on fire outside of a commercial business… The same officer spotted another fire a few blocks away. SPD said the fire was next to an old oil drum under a tree which gave the fire the potential to explode into something much larger was very high.”

#5. Arson arrest in California fire:   San Fransisco Chronicle reports, “Ivan Geronimo Gomez, 31, of Fresno was arrested and booked into Monterey County Jail on Aug. 19 after state park rangers detained him near the fire’s origin point, the Sheriff’s Office said.Sheriff’s detectives arrested him on suspicion of five charges, including arson of forestland, setting his bail at $2 million. Jail records list illegal marijuana cultivation as another charge, along with throwing objects at a vehicle with intent to cause great bodily harm, battery and exhibiting a deadly weapon that wasn’t a gun.”

#6. Arson suspicion in Corbet fire.  Koin-6 TV reports that fireworks were discovered next to a small brush fire in Corbett, Sept. 11, 2020.

#7. Man starts small fire in woods in Dexter.  KVAL-TV News Eugene reports, “A man faces accusations he tried to start a fire in the woods near the frisbee golf course at Dexter State Recreation Area on Wednesday.”

#8. Woman starts fire in Northern California.  KOIN 5/46 reports, “The California Highway Patrol confirms that a woman has been arrested after being accused of intentionally starting fires.  They said it happened on Highway 101 near Boronda Road”.

#9. A man was accused (in July) of starting 6 fires in Douglas County:  Mail Tribune Reports, “A man armed with a machete was arrested Tuesday on accusations he started six wildfires in Douglas County.”

#10. Portland police arrest man for 6 arson attempts — including using Molotov cocktail.  KATU-2 reports, A man is facing charges after Portland police say he used a Molotov cocktail to ignite a brush fire along Interstate 205 near East Burnside Street Sunday.Officers responded to a reported brush fire in the 9600 block of East Burnside Street shortly after 4:30 p.m. In the area, they found a section of grass along the I-205 freeway was burning… He was issued citations for six additional counts of reckless burning.

#11. Police investigate West Linn arson suspicion. The Oregonian reports, “The Linn County Sheriff’s Office said responders were called early Monday to eight small fires east and west of Sweet Home, as well as outside Brownsville. The blazes occurred in a two-hour timeframe. Authorities are looking for “a vehicle of interest” — a small white or silver 1990s Nissan pickup truck with a black canopy.”

Attempted arson

#12. A man in Portland has been caught trying to set a hotel gas pipe on fire.  Andy Ngo first reported and KOIN-TV reports, “Portland Police arrested a man accused of setting fire to a cloth wrapped around a natural gas pipe connected to a hotel in the Pearl District last week..a woman who said she saw a man next to the natural gas pipe and meter that connects to the side of the hotel. The witness allegedly said she saw what looked like a blanket, on fire, wrapped around the pipe. The witness said at one point the material fell off and the man replaced it… the hotel was about 40% occupied and the room opposite the “wall of the fire was currently occupied,” according to a probable cause affidavit. Portland Police also responded and spoke with a man who said he was standing in the courtyard of the hotel when he saw a man trying to get into his car. The witness yelled at the suspect who allegedly kicked his car, denting it, and knocking off the backup sensor.”

#13. Oregon City man arrested for attempted arson near building. KATU-2 TV reports, “Oregon City Police arrested a man Friday afternoon after they say he lit a pile of leaves on fire near the Clackamas County Community Solutions building. “

#14. Police arrest suspect lighting fireworks at wood shop.  Eugene Register Guard reports, “Junction City Police found the suspect had left the area on a motorcycle and were able to find him at a store in Junction City.  Junction City police reported the suspect admitted to igniting the firework and acknowledged that he knew how dangerous it was because of the dry weather conditions. The firework reportedly was set off about a foot away from a carpentry shop, police said, that was surrounded by a thick amount of sawdust and other pieces of wood that could easily burn.” The shop was close to another residence. The firework that was set off is believed to be a mortar-type. Additional mortars were seized from the suspect’s home.”

Honorable Mention:

— FBI investigate power poles cut with chainsaw near Lynnwood Washington.   King-5 News reports, “Several power poles in Snohomish County have been vandalized with a chainsaw. Now local authorities and the FBI are searching for a suspect and motive…Someone had cut through the pole with a chainsaw, leaving it dangling from high voltage wires overhead, near a substation and in the middle of a neighborhood. Lynnwood Police Commander Sean Doty said that case is especially unsettling considering the lines carry more than 12,000 volts. They are so powerful, you wouldn’t even have to touch them to get electrocuted.”


Beware of false arson claims: Police are actively dispelling many dangerous false rumors about political groups, both left and right, intentionally setting fires.   Please verify with a news source or original source before broadcasting any arson news in the middle of our wildfire crisis.  These social media hoax articles contain law enforcement logos but are not law enforcement. 911 dispatchers say they are overwhelmed with people calling about fake arson rumors and questions.


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