Portland’s Alleged Teen Fire Starters Roamed Beyond One Park

Indictment documents allege the teens set fires in three quadrants of the city.

Smoky skies over Mt. Tabor Park. (Mick Hangland-Skill)

On Jan. 3, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office indicted three Portland teenagers on a slew of arson charges related to a number of fires set over the summer and fall across Southeast Portland, including at Mt. Tabor Park.

Wayne Chen, Malik Hares and Sam Perkins, all 18 and friends since elementary school, were indicted on a total of 14 charges, including first- and second-degree arson and reckless burning. (Hares, who lived in the Montavilla neighborhood where most of the fires were set, is the sole defendant in 12 of the 14 charges.)

What the indictment reveals is that the fires allegedly set by the teens weren’t confined to Mt. Tabor Park, where fire investigators this fall found evidence of 36 different fires that they allege were started by the teens.

The indictment lists only one fire connected to the park. The other locations, mostly clustered in Montavilla within a few-block radius, include an abandoned building owned by a church, a plot of vegetation next to two homes, a shed in a public park, a box truck and a mattress.

In addition, prosecutors identified what appears to be an abandoned commercial building in Southwest and a warehouse in Northeast as locations where the teens may have set fires.

Below is a map of all the locations and objects listed in the indictment that prosecutors allege one or more of the teens lit on fire, to varying degrees of success.

Tabor Arsons

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