This article was posted on Saturday, Jul 01, 2023


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


The Tenant

30-year old Garret Repp of Portland, had trouble written all over him. Some described him as psychotic while residents of the building reported that he “repeatedly clashed” with other tenants.  Residents also said that since he moved in (last November), he had pulled the apartment building’s fire alarm more than a dozen times for no reason whatsoever.

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He was then arrested in May  for “breaking through the wall of his apartment” and tunneling into the vacant unit next door. For that, he was charged with one count of first-degree criminal mischief and later released.


Eviction and Additional Arrests

In addition to being a nuisance, Repp also didn’t pay his rent. Court records show an eviction was filed against him in February stating he owed $3,180 in rent and late fees.  It was reported that on April 17th, the Landlord/Tenant Department of the Multnomah County Circuit Court ordered him to move out by midnight on April 23rd, but that was later amended twice to a final move out date of midnight on May 8th. On May 10th a judge ordered sheriff’s deputies to remove him from his apartment.

While the eviction was in process, Repp was arrested four more times over a span of five months.  Those arrests were for criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief. 

One of those arrests for criminal trespass was after he allegedly broke into an ex-girlfriend’s apartment, locking the door behind him, according to a probable cause affidavit.  He had barricaded himself in her unit and officers had to use an ax to break down the door and arrest him.

Being released the next day, he re-entered the lobby of the police building and started kicking and punching the glass doors demanding the return of his personal items. When he left the lobby, he was seen on a security camera running down the “secure”vehicle ramp by the underground entrance and was arrested again for second-degree criminal trespass.

Then, on May 16th, the fire broke out. Due to his previous history with the building’s management and prior arrests, Repp was arrested for arson on the day of the fire.


Apartment Building Destroyed

The 100-plus year-old apartment building was completely destroyed and the residents of all 42 units were displaced. It was reported by Portland Fire and Rescue that no one was seriously injured in the fire but, unfortunately, an unknown number of pets were lost. Officials said the apartment building, owned by a family business, will most likely be torn down. 


Tenant Pleads Not Guilty

Repp made his first appearance in court for arraignment entering an initial plea of not guilty. He’s being held without bail pending further court proceedings. Looks like the guy just may have found himself some more free housing for quite awhile.


Patricia Harris is Senior Editor of the Apartment Owners Association News and Buyers Guide.