2 hurt after kidnapping, chase, gunfire exchange

SILVERTON — A Woodburn man has been accused of kidnapping a teenager and hurting a second person in an incident that police said included a vehicle chase and exchange of gunfire with officers in Silverton.

Oregon State Police said officers responded Wednesday, May 12, to a disturbance in Gervais where officers found a 22-year-old man with a gunshot wound who was taken to Salem Hospital, the Statesman Journal reported.

Marion County Sheriff’s deputies and Silverton police began following the suspect who allegedly kidnapped a 17-year-old and fled in a Ford F-150. Police chased him through Silverton while officials say someone in the Ford fired at officers.

The suspect stopped on Highway 214 and gunshots were exchanged with officers, police said. Some police vehicles were hit with bullets but no officers were hurt, police said.

Kenneth Peden III, 20, was arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail where he is being held without bail, police said.

The 17-year-old passenger was taken by helicopter to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Peden was arraigned May 13 on four counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault, attempted murder, kidnapping, and attempting to elude police, court documents show.

Lawsuit seeks $103M from public utilities over wildfire

PORTLAND — A lawsuit filed on behalf of 70 landowners in Oregon’s McKenzie River Valley seeks $103 million from Lane Electric Cooperative and Eugene Water and Electric Board for damages linked to one of the Labor Day fires that ravaged communities around the state.

The Holiday Farm fire killed one person and destroyed 430 homes, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. The plaintiffs contend the two utilities failed to de-energize their power lines despite widespread forecasts for extreme fire weather.

An official cause of the fire hasn’t been released, but the lawsuit says fires started when tree branches contacted power lines east of Eugene.

“The Holiday Farm Fire devastated our clients’ homes, timber, and businesses. It was a life-altering event for our clients,” said Rick Klingbeil of Salem Fire Lawyers.

Joe Harwood, a spokesperson for the Eugene Water & Electric Board, said in an emailed statement the lawsuit “contains claims that are based upon a significant factual error.” As designed, he said, the utility’s lines in the Holiday Farm area de-energized automatically several hours before the blaze ignited on Sept. 7, 2020.

Lane Electric Cooperative didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, May 13, is one of multiple that claim utility negligence was responsible for much of the devastation. PacifiCorp faces similar lawsuits from residents in the Beachie Creek and Santiam Canyon fires, the Echo Mountain Complex near Lincoln City, the Archie Creek fire along the North Umpqua, and the Slater fire on the Oregon/California border.

— Associated Press

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