Teens Suspected of Lighting Series of Fires in Southeast Portland Indicted on Slew of Arson Charges

The indictment alleges one of the teens lit fires at or near a number of buildings in Southeast Portland, just blocks from where his family lives.

Tabor bicycle Cycling on Mount Tabor. (Mick Hangland-Skill) (Mick Hangland-Skill)

Three Portland teenagers suspected of starting a string of grass fires in Mt. Tabor Park this summer were indicted on a slew of charges Jan. 3 after a grand jury proceeding in late December.

The three 18-year-olds—Malik Hares, Sam Perkins and Wayne Chen—were indicted on a total of 14 charges, including first- and second-degree arson and reckless burning.

The indictment also alleges that the damage and destruction were not limited to Mount Tabor.

One of the teens, Hares, received the bulk of the charges: six counts of second-degree arson, three counts of first-degree arson, three counts of reckless burning, and unlawful possession of a destructive device.

The indictment alleges that Hares specifically started fires at a derelict building owned by Grace Lutheran Church in the Montavilla neighborhood, a commercial building along Southwest Barbur Boulevard, vegetation near a home on Southeast Taylor Street, and vegetation near another home in Southeast Portland. The indictment alleges Hares also set fire to a mattress near the Creative Science School in Montavilla, to a shed in Harrison Park, and to a dumpster along Southeast Division Street.

All three teens, the indictment alleges, participated in setting fire to a box truck along Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard and lighting a fire at an industrial warehouse in Northeast Portland.

Most of the crimes alleged took place in the months of July and August.

Wayne Chen and Sam Perkins were both indicted on one count each of reckless burning and second-degree arson.

Only one charge against Hares stems from a fire lit at Mt. Tabor Park, despite city fire investigators reporting in September that they suspected the teens lit more than 36 fires in and around the park.

A trial date has not yet been set.

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