Jury finds Pacific Power negligent in 2020 Labor Day fires

MULTNOMAH COUNTY, Ore. – A verdict has been reached in a class action lawsuit against Pacific Power over the devastating 2020 Labor Day weekend wildfires.

A Multnomah County jury ruled that Pacific Power was negligent in the 2020 wildfires.

That includes the South Obenchain Fire in Jackson County.

The other fires involved are the Echo Mountain Fire Complex, the Santiam Canyon Fire Complex, and the 242 Fire.

The jury returned its decision Monday morning saying Pacific Power was negligent, reckless, and willful and should be held financially liable for homes destroyed in the fires.

The jury awarded more than $55 million, collectively, to 17 homeowners who sued PacifiCorp, Pacific Power’s parent company.

After the verdict was announced, Pacific Power released a statement saying the company will appeal and believes it will win.

It also pointed to escalating climate change, challenging state and federal forest management, and population growth as reasons for growing wildfire risk.

One fire that was noticeably absent from the lawsuit is the Almeda Fire.

Local law enforcement has said it was human-caused, but no information has been released beyond that.

That’s despite multiple agencies calling it the largest criminal investigation in Jackson County history.

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Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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