Three men have been cited for their involvement in an illegal roadblock Tuesday evening, Sep. 15, in Corbett that was formed due to fears around wildfires.
Joshua D. Smith, 36, and Travis Lucky, 18, both from Corbett; and Sandy resident Michael G. Meier, 36, were issued criminal citations for second-degree disorderly conduct.
"The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office will not tolerate this type of illegal activity," Sheriff Mike Reese said. "If you see this activity or are stopped by a civilian, call 911, and a deputy will respond and investigate. We encourage people to call the Sheriff's Office to report suspicious activity, and to not take action on their own."
Deputies responded to Corbett around 8:30 p.m. near the intersection of East Larch Mountain Road and East Historic Columbia River Highway after receiving a call from a driver who said he or she was followed and blocked by three vehicles. Deputies later determined the illegal checkpoint had been allegedly formed by Smith, Lucky and Meier.
All three men will appear in court at a later date.
The citations were announced hours after Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury denounced reports of civilian traffic stops in Corbett blocking those fleeing from evacuation zones.
"I will absolutely not tolerate vigilantism of any kind in Multnomah County, especially when it further traumatizes people escaping a disaster," Kafoury said in a statement.
Those Corbett checkpoints were spurred after vigilant residents identified and doused a small fire in the 1700 block of Northeast Brower Road in Corbett, after hearing a series of pops and seeing 6-foot flames in the forest. An investigation found the fire was intentionally set using fireworks, law enforcement said.
The idea of fireworks sparking an inferno is not a foreign concept for those in the Columbia River Gorge. In 2017 the Eagle Creek Fire, which was caused by a teenager and fireworks, burned almost 50,000 acres.
There have been other illegal roadblocks reported in the Clackamas County wildfire evacuation zones. Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts has warned against vigilantism and stressed there was "no evidence" of any organization being behind the fires or crime.
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