Oregon teen court ordered $36 million dollars in restitution for Eagle Creek/Columbia Gorge arson case

A judge ruled that the teenage boy convictedfor starting the Eagle Creek Fire that burned through the Columbia River Gorge last September must pay more than $36 million in restitution as part of his punishment.

Judge John A. Olson considered an argumentby the boy’s lawyer that the hefty bill was “absurd” and a cruel and unusual punishment. However, Olson concluded in a judgement Monday morning that “the restitution is clearly proportionate to the offense because it does not exceed the financial damages caused by the youth.”

The 15-year-old, who has not been named in court documents, will pay the restitution on a schedule set by the Hood River Juvenile Department. After 10 years, if he has completed probation and avoided any other criminal charges, the court can consider forgiving the remaining debt.

The fire shut down trails and required emergency responders to evacuate people trapped by the blaze. It started when the boy threw a firework into dry brush from the trail.

Restitution was awarded to the following individuals and groups:

  • $5,000 to Iris Schenk
  • $8,111 to Allstate Insurance
  • $31,551 to Oregon State Parks
  • $100,000 to Heuker Properties
  • $168,000 to Trail Club of Oregon
  • $1,048,878 to Union Pacific Railroad
  • $1,643,035 to Oregon State Fire Marshall
  • $12,500,000 to ODOT
  • $21,113,755 to US Forest Service

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