Arsonist accused in string of outer East Portland fires

This man kept firefighters busy, allegedly setting dumpster fires in four locations. One of the blazes charred a major Parkrose business …

In outer East Portland, from Montavilla, to Hazelwood, to two blazes in Parkrose – Portland Fire & Rescue crews raced from fire to fire, during an overnight arson spree.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

May 8, and into the wee hours of May 9, constituted busy evening for Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) firefighters, as they raced to at least four fires started in outdoor refuse bins, beginning in the Montavilla neighborhood.

Four logged fires were listed initially as “DUMP-Dumpster, Garbage Can, or Trash Fire” – although one expanded and did substantial damage to a Parkrose area business. A “VFIRE – Vehicle or Trailer Fire” call came later.

May 8: 7:32 p.m. – PF&R crews put out a fire in the Montavilla neighborhood, near the intersection of NE 82nd Avenue and Glisan Street.

May 8: 11:42 p.m. – Firefighters were dispatched to another dumpster fire, this one in the Hazelwood neighborhood – In the parking lot of a commercial building that houses Providence Health & Services, along the Gateway Transit Center; officially placed in the 9900 block of NE Halsey Street.

PF&R rigs line up, as a dumpster fire erupts into a two-alarm blaze in Parkrose.

It looks as if the service bays and showroom at Brown’s Parkrose Point S Tire & Auto escaped severe damage, but a storage area in the back of the building was charred.

May 9: 4:04 a.m. – Although fire crews were dispatched to the 11600 block of NE Sandy Boulevard, it seems that the dumpsters set ablaze were actually behind Brown’s Parkrose Point S Tire & Auto at 12030 NE Sandy Boulevard.

“This fire was escalated to a two-Alarm response, bringing additional units to the scene,” Reported PF&R Public Information Officer Lt. Tommy Schroeder.

May 9: 4:27 a.m. – As firefighters were being called to the tire store fire, other crews were dispatched to yet another dumpster fire, this one near a building on Sandy Boulevard at NE 112th Avenue.

May 9: 7:18 a.m. – This dispatch was different: It was to a VFIRE – “Vehicle or Trailer Fire”. Firefighters were called to an area behind the Gateway Fred Meyer store again, a block south of the May 8 fire at 11:42 p.m., on NE 99th Avenue – but this time, near Pacific Street.

“Thanks to assistance from Portland Police Bureau, the public and footage from security cameras, a PF&R Arson Investigator recognized and stopped a suspect,” said P.I.O. Lt. Tommy Schroeder.

After appearing in court, now facing just one arson charge currently (that, too, could be dismissed) is 31-year-old Trevor Williamarth McDonald. MCDC booking photo

Arrested was 31-year-old Trevor Williamarth McDonald, who was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 11:36 a.m. on May 9, charged with a Class A Felony of Arson in the First Degree, and three Class C Felonies, Arson in the Second Degree.

At his arraignment, McDonald learned his combined bail for the four Felony charges was $265,000. However, for undisclosed reasons, a day later McDonald learned that two of the three Arson in the Second Degree charges had been “dismissed”, and that the $5,000 bail for the remaining Second Degree charge had been erased.

Bail dramatically reduced
More surprisingly, McDonald’s remaining Class A Felony of “Arson in the First Degree” charge – originally calling for a $250,000 bail amount – had been reduced to $55,000. Despite all that, for the time being, McDonald continues to be in custody in the MCDC as of the publication date of this story.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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