HOOD RIVER, Ore. — The Eagle Creek Fire in September of 2017 destroyed 48,000 acres in the Columbia River Gorge.
The 15-year-old boy responsible for throwing fireworks in a canyon that started the fire was sentenced to 5 years probation, nearly $37 million in restitution and 1,920 hours of community service. Part of the community service was to be spent replanting trees in the forest. He was also ordered by the court to write 150 apology letters.
FM News 101 KXL Reporter Rosemary Reynolds found out the young man, now 19, has nearly completed all of the community service and has consistently made monthly payments. Hood River County District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen shared that information with her. Rasmussen also stated that juvenile court records are confidential.
The following entities were due payment because of the Eagle Creek Fire: $21 million to the U.S. Forest Service, $12.5 million to the Oregon Department of Transportation, $1.6 million to the Oregon State Fire Marshal, and $1 million to Union Pacific Railroad.
After 10 years, if restitution payments have been on time and a person commits no other crimes, payments may end. It is very unusual for restitution to be collected by counties throughout Oregon. In 2013, criminals owed victims $425 million dollars. None of it was ever paid back. There is doubt that figure has gone down through the years.