REPORT: Teen who sparked tragic Oregon fire ordered to pay millions


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A judge has ordered a teen who admitted to starting a fire that swept through the Columbia River Gorge last year to pay over $36 million but acknowledges the teen can’t pay the sum in full.

Hood River County Circuit Judge John A. Olson wrote in an opinion released Monday that the court awards restitution totaling about $36,618,330 on behalf of Eagle Creek fire victims including the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Transportation. Olson also noted that the court could appoint a supervising authority or agency to develop a payment plan for the teen.

He also cited “safety valves” in state law, including one that allows payments to stop after 10 years if a juvenile defendant completes probation, doesn’t commit other offenses and complies with payment plans.

The article goes on to state the following:

Jack Morris, the lawyer for the 15-year-old, last week called a slightly higher figure, $36,631,687.10, “absurd” and “absolutely silly.” He also challenged the constitutionality of juvenile restitution on state, federal and policy grounds. He urged the judge to impose a “reasonable and rational” amount.

The report indicates that according to court records, the teen’s restitution breaks down as follows:

– Iris Schenk, whose Warrendale house burned down: $5,000
– Allstate Insurance: $8,111.44
– Oregon State Parks: $31,550.90
– Heuker Properties: $100,000
– Trail Club of Oregon: $168,000
– Union Pacific Railroad: $1,048,877.52
– Oregon State Fire Marshal: $1,643,035.38
– Oregon Department of Transportation: $12.5 million
– U.S. Forest Service: $21,113,755

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