Evicted Tenant Charged With Arson In Portland Apartment Fire

Police have charged an evicted tenant with felony arson and reckless endangerment in a fire that destroyed a Portland apartment building.
Photo courtesy of Portland Fire & Rescue

Police have charged an evicted tenant with felony arson, criminal mischief and misdemeanor reckless endangerment in a fire that destroyed a Portland apartment building, according to reports.

The 116-year-old apartment building was destroyed and residents of all 42 units of the May Apartments, were displaced. No one was seriously injured in the fire but an unknown number of pets were lost in the arson fire according to a spokesman for Portland Fire & Rescue.

Officials said the apartment building will likely be torn down.

Police arrested 30-year-old Garrett Repp, a former tenant who was evicted in May, on 31 charges,including arson, related to the fire.

Repp’s ex-girlfriend told The Oregonian/OregonLive he had lived in the May Apartments since November. The landlord, SkyNat Property Management, initiated an eviction order against Repp in February saying he owed $3,180 in rent and late fees, court records show.

The Oregonian reported that on April 17, the Multnomah County Circuit Court Landlord Tenant Department ordered Repp to move out by midnight on April 23. An amended order was filed May 1, ordering him to move out by midnight May 7. A third order was issued May 3, ordering him to move out by midnight May 8. On May 10 a judge ordered sheriff’s deputies to remove him from his third-floor apartment. The fire broke out May 16.

The four-alarm fire at the May Apartments at 1410 S.W. Taylor Street in the Goose Hollow neighborhood sent heavy, black smoke throughout downtown Portland and surrounding areas, leading to the closure of streets and highways.

Portland Police spokesperson Sgt. Kevin Allen said Repp, 30, was arrested the day of the blaze because building management had reported him on May 9 for “breaking through the wall of his apartment” and tunneling into the vacant unit next door. Repp was charged with one count of first-degree criminal mischief and released later on May 16. The case has since been closed.

Repp was well-known to residents at The May Apartments, according to interviews with three tenants and a former property manager, who said he had pulled the fire alarm for no reason more than a dozen times since he moved in last December and had repeatedly clashed with other residents.

According to its website, SkyNat is a family business with more than 500 residential units in Portland, Gresham, Vancouver and Tigard.

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