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Bend man accused of arson, burglary at downtown peer support center arraigned on indictment

(Update: Adding video, comments from Christian's Deschutes County court appearance)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A Bend man who was excluded from Deschutes County's downtown Bend campus due to alleged "bad behavior" was arraigned on an indictment Monday, 10 days after his arrest on charges of breaking into and setting a fire in a peer support center after emptying its fire extinguishers.

Patrol deputies were dispatched late Thursday evening, Nov. 16, to a report of a fire in progress at a county building in the 1100 block of Harriman Street, Sergeant Chris Barringer said.

“Deputies were alerted to suspicious circumstances indicating someone had illegally entered the building and intentionally set the fire,” he said in a news release.

The next day, Barringer said, DCSO detectives “reviewed available evidence and developed probable cause” to arrest Demian Fletcher Christian, 48, of Bend, on charges of first-degree arson, second-degree burglary and first-degree criminal mischief.

That Friday evening, patrol deputies contacted Christian at his home on Northeast Full Moon Drive, where he was taken into custody without incident and booked into the county jail.

Christian was arraigned on Monday, Nov. 20, on the initial formal charges: first-degree arson, a Class A felony, second-degree burglary, a Class C felony, and second-degree criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor. A formal indictment on those charges was filed on Monday, a week later.

Christian appeared back in Deschutes County Circuit Court on Monday by video from the county jail.

While speaking with Judge Alycia Herriott, Christian asked to be transfered out of jail due to his mental health. "The jail is inappropriate. I hear voices and take meds. I need to go to DRC (the Deschutes Recovery Center) or Sage View (Psychiatric Center)". Herriott declined his request and set his plea hearing for Dec. 18.

At Christian's first court appearance, District Attorney Steve Gunnels told Circuit Judge Randy Miller: "The allegations are that the defendant deliberately set fire at Deschutes County Peer Support after hours, after emptying the fire extinguishers in that building so they couldn't be used to put out the fire."

Miller set $100,000 bail on the arson charge and scheduled the subsequent arraignment a week later. If released, the judge set conditions for Christian to follow, including not going to the facility where the fire occurred and to make "no use of accelerants or fire-starting materials."

A county representative said the fire occurred in the Cascade Peer and Self Help Center, which leases space from the county. On its website, the facility says it's "a drop-in center for people experiencing on going mental health and/or addiction issues who are engaged in mental health or addiction treatment or referred to CPASHC as part of their aftercare program." 

Gunnels told NewsChannel 21 the day after the arrest that Christian had been told by authorities he could not return to the downtown campus property, "based on previous allegations of bad behavior."

Deschutes County Behavioral Health's downtown Bend clinic

Court records show Christian also is due to enter a plea Dec. 21 on a second-degree criminal mischief charge that on July 20, 2022, he threw a rock through the window of a downtown Bend marijuana dispensary.

The records show Christian was arrested seven times on felony charges between 1995 and 2012 in Multnomah, Marion and Benton counties. Most recently, he pleaded guilty in 2013 to two second-degree burglary charges in Marion County and convicted of unauthorized use of a vehicle in Benton County.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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Blake Mayfield

Blake Mayfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


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