Portland, OR

Tuesday in Portland: Suspect in May Apartments fire indicted on 55 counts including arson, animal abuse and more

Emily Scarvie

Photo by(David McNew/Getty Images)

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Tuesday, June 6 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Suspect in May Apartments fire indicted on 55 counts

The suspect in the May 16 fire that destroyed the May Apartments has been indicted by a grand jury on 55 counts. Garrett Allen Ray Repp faces 28 counts of first-degree arson, 21 counts of recklessly endangering another person, five counts of first-degree animal abuse and one count of first-degree criminal mischief.

Repp, 30, was a tenant of the apartment building. However, court documents state that he had already been evicted and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office was scheduled to physically remove him on May 16. He’s suspected of starting the fire in his unit less than two hours prior to the removal.

He was arrested on May 25 and made his first court appearance last week. Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said he was indicted on June 2.

2. Portland's food scene honored at James Beard Awards

Several people involved with Portland’s food scene took home James Beard Awards at the annual ceremony in Chicago on Monday, establishing Portland even more as a foodie city. The awards are like the Oscars of America’s food and restaurant industry.

Kann, founded by Gregory Gourdet, was named the best restaurant in the country. Vince Nguyen of Berlu Bakery was named best chef in the region, representing the Northwest and Pacific. Brooke Jackson-Glidden, who writes for Eater Portland, won the Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award for engaging readers “through enterprising food and dining coverage.”

In addition, the Burgerville union was recognized with the Emerging Leadership Award. In 2021, the group successfully negotiated the country’s first-ever fast food union contract.

3. OHA planning to distribute 3,000 AC units, 4,700 filtration devices to vulnerable Oregonians

After nearly 100 people died of heat exposure during the heat dome in 2021, Oregon passed Senate Bill 1536, which limits landlords’ ability to prevent tenants from installing AC units and allows funding to provide free AC to vulnerable community members across the state.

This summer, the Oregon Health Authority will spend around $1.7 million to provide 3,000 AC units and 4,700 filtration devices to organizations that will distribute them to people in need. OHA representative Liz Gharst said people who are eligible:

  • Do not have a cooling device and
  • Qualify for medical assistance through OHA, Oregon Department of Human Services or Medicare, or have received these services in the past 12 months, and
  • Are at risk for heat-related illness. This includes: people age 65 years or older, medically fragile children or people with a disability or health condition that makes them vulnerable to heat events. These include diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity or respiratory disease.

OHA distributed 3,900 AC units to vulnerable Oregonians last year. Of that group, 70% identified themselves as especially vulnerable to heat-related illness due to disabilities and chronic conditions.

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