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Derek Brandon Conley faces charges of offensive littering and criminal mischief over the incident.

Derek ConleyThe suspect in a strange case involving half of an old mobile home being abandoned in an elementary school parking lot has been arrested, the Washington County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday morning, Sept. 18.

Derek Brandon Conley, a 35-year-old Portland man, was arrested overnight while reportedly attempting to pick up the second half of the mobile home and transport it to an unknown location.

The first half of the mobile home was apparently picked up by Conley from a Yamhill-area seller who listed the unit, divided into two pieces, as "salvage" on Craigslist and offered $500 per half to anyone able to transport it off his property, the Sheriff's Office said.

Half of the mobile home was left in the parking lot of Echo Shaw Elementary School in Cornelius on Saturday, Sept. 15. It was towed from the school the following day and has since been returned to its original owner, the Sheriff's Office said.

Conley was arrested after the seller contacted the Sheriff's Office late Monday night, Sept. 17, to inform deputies he was returning to pick up the second half of the mobile home, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The mobile home is in a dilapidated condition and contains mold, first responders said. Chief Michael Kinkade of the Cornelius Fire Department said firefighters inspected the unit to determine whether it was a "hazmat" risk; while the Sheriff's Office described the mobile home as a hazard, firefighters did not report finding any contaminants in a number of barrels inside the mobile home.

Conley allegedly told the seller he planned to convert the mobile home into "small housing units."

Conley faces charges of criminal mischief and offensive littering, as well as an outstanding probation violation. He has an extensive criminal record in Oregon. He was convicted of assault in 2003 and interfering with a peace officer in 2010. He was also charged with attempted murder in 2010, though those charges were dismissed when he pleaded no contest to attempting to commit a Class A felony.

Following his arrest, Conley was booked into the Washington County Jail.

Investigators in the mobile home case received "dozens of tips" from members of the public about the Craigslist posting, the Sheriff's Office stated. Deputy Jeff Talbot, a spokesman for the agency, thanked the public for its assistance in the case.

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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