Portland, OR

Friday in Portland: Tenant arrested for arson after large fire destroys SE Portland apartment building and more

Emily Scarvie

Photo by(David McNew/Getty Images)

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Friday, May 26 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Portland police identify woman's body found in outskirts of Pleasant Valley neighborhood

Portland police have identified the body of a woman found in a wooded area in southeast Portland’s Pleasant Valley neighborhood as 22-year-old Kristin Smith, who was reported missing on Dec. 22, 2022. Officers responded to a report of human remains discovered near Southeast Deardorff Road and Southeast Flavel Street on Feb. 19. The body was later confirmed to be Smith’s. PPB said her family has been notified.

Police are still calling this a death investigation. They did not indicate if Smith’s death is thought to be suspicious in nature. PPB and the Medical Examiner’s Office are continuing their investigation into the case.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jeff Pontius at Jeffery.Pontius@police.portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-0433, or Detective Kristina Coffey at Kristina.Coffey@police.portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-1081.

2. Tenant arrested for arson after large fire destroys SE Portland apartment building

The Portland Police Bureau said Thursday that a person is under arrest and facing arson charges for setting the fire that destroyed a 113-year-old southeast Portland apartment building last week. Garrett A. Repp, 30, was a resident of the May Apartments. He was booked into Multnomah County Jail and is facing charges of first-degree arson, reckless endangering of another person and first-degree criminal mischief.

Portland Fire & Rescue crews responded to a large fire at the apartment building on May 16. Residents were evacuated from the upper story windows using ladders. Thick smoke could be seen coming out of multiple upper windows, and a plume of smoke could be seen throughout downtown Portland.

One firefighter was injured when a window blew out and another was sent to the hospital with elevated blood pressure and remains under observation, according to PF&R. All residents made it out of the building, but several pets died.

3. Portland to clear more homeless tents from sidewalks as part of disability lawsuit settlement

The city of Portland has reached a tentative agreement to clear more homeless camps from sidewalks, settling a lawsuit from 10 residents who have, or care for people with, physical disabilities. The city agreed to prioritize removing campsites that obstruct sidewalks, extend its ban on city employees handing out tents and tarps to homeless residents and remove at least 500 camps from sidewalks each year. It will also become easier for people with physical disabilities to report blocked sidewalks.

The Portland City Council still needs to approve the settlement. However, its terms drew criticism from advocacy groups for people experiencing homelessness and people with disabilities.

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