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Family grieves for man who died on amphitheater stage

Police say Damon Roberson's death was accidental; sister calls him 'extreme optimist'

(Update: Comments from sister)

Bend Police have identified the body found Saturday morning at the Les Schwab Amphitheater at Bend's Old Mill District as 49-year-old Damon H. Roberson and said they have determined it was an accidental death.

"No foul play is suspected" in the death of Damon H. Roberson, a Bend transient, Lt. Juli McConkey said Tuesday.

Police did not specify the nature of the accident, but McConkey said a review of video taken from surveillance cameras in and around the concert venue helped police determine the death was accidental.

"Bend police worked closely with the Old Mill, who were able to access the video surveillance quickly to assist with our investigation," McConkey added.

A citizen's report brought police and fire medics to the amphitheater around 8:35 a.m. Saturday for a welfare check.

Fire medics attempted lifesaving efforts on the unresponsive man, McConkey said, but it was determined he had died. Police taped off the area for a death investigation.

McConkey said this incident is unusual for the area.

"The Les Schwab Amphitheater and the area around the Old Mill is very safe," McConkey said. "There is security there, as well as surveillance video, so it is a very safe avenue for anyone who wants to go shopping or explore or any of those things. This is not anything to be concerned about."

Family members told NewsChannel 21 Roberson was an avid cyclist and enjoyed beach and mountain biking all over Central Oregon. They said Roberson camped out in the wilderness and was a yoga therapist for eight years. He moved to Bend four years ago, after a divorce.

"He was an extreme optimist, and I've gotten a lot of messages from Damon that describe him well," said Holly Roberson, Damon's sister. "He was always giving someone a high five, on and off the trails. He was super positive, very kind and curious, and inquisitive. Just a pretty stoked person in general."

Holly Roberson said this time for the family is tough, because Damon was houseless for the last days of his life.

"Knowing that he was pretty much on the street that last few days of his life is pretty heart-wrenching," she said. "We're dealing with it. It is tragic, and it's untimely."

Accidents and Crashes / Bend / Central Oregon / News

Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.



  1. If it wasn’t a suicide, why aren’t the public allowed to know exactly what happened. Call me insensitive but everybody wants to know what the hell this person was doing, admit it or not.

    1. It’s not only suicides where law enforcement and media consider strongly the impact on family and friends of such details. And not “everybody” wants to know, some in the FB comment threads make that clear. That said, we may have more information later today.

    2. No not everyone wants to know, and if there is no public threat, it’s a nonissue. he family shouldn’t be made to feel required to share the details, irregardless of people that basically feel they have a right, and make demands, to know what happened…
      Of course there is always curiosity, but do you follow the obituaries and demand that the families of those who died but weren’t in the news, give you details too ?

    3. you knowing the cause aint going to do you any good and sure as hell aint going to do any good for the victim or family. you should concentrate on making your own family miserable this holiday instead of looking for something snide to say to this one while they are grieving

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