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DCSO: Portland man’s assault, hate-crime claim was untrue

(Update: Police contact Olson, determine claim was untrue; fundraising page shut down)

Authorities have talked to a Portland man who claimed on a fundraising page he had been stabbed and his vehicle vandalized with racist graffiti off China Hat Road south of Bend, and determined it did not take place, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies said Wednesday.

Earlier this week, deputies said they had been unable to contact the man, identified as Michael Olson. Olson was interviewed Wednesday by sheriff’s and Portland police detectives, Lt. Chad Davis said.

“Based on statements made by Mr. Olson, detectives determined the incident Mr. Olson described on social media did not actually take place,” Davis said.

Based on what authorities learned from Olson, they contacted GoFundMe, and the fundraising page was shut down, he added.

The results of the investigation will be sent to the district attorney’s office for review, Davis said.

Earlier story:

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a Portland man’s claim on a fund-raising page that he was stabbed in the China Hat Road area southeast of Bend and was the victim of a hate crime, with offensive racial messages spray-painted on his vehicle.

The sheriff’s office received information from a concerned citizen through its website about a man saying he was assaulted by unknown assailants in the area, Lt. Chad Davis said.

The citizen said they’d seen a post on a GoFundMe page where the alleged victim, Michael Olson, said he’d been the victim of a hate crime. The photos on the page show Olson is an African American male, and also show vandalism in the form of graffiti on a vehicle.

On the fundraising page, Olson said he had been stabbed and some of his personal property was damaged, including his vehicle. He also said his blue heeler dog, Cricket, was a victim as well, and he sought funds to help pay medical bills.

Olson posted photos of racial epithets and a swastika spray-painted on the vehicle, and said he also said he had “a number of belongings and money stolen.”

Davis said the sheriff’s office had received no reports of an assault or stabbing in the area from Olson. A detective made several attempts to contact Olson, but Davis said the detective has not been able to locate him for an interview.

The Portland Police Bureau also was contacted and assigned an investigator from their Assault/Bias Crimes Division to find Olson for an interview, but they also were unable to locate him.

Davis said the sheriff’s office is continuing its active investigation and will continue to try to contact Olson and obtain more information. Anyone with more information is asked to contact county dispatchers at their non-emergency number, 541-693-6911.

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