Teen who ignited Gorge fire awaits order on restitution

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The judge deciding how much restitution a teenager must pay for starting a wildfire in the Columbia River Gorge says he will issue a written ruling, possibly Friday.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 11 requests for restitution — totaling almost $37 million — have been submitted to the court. The lawyer for the 15-year-old defendant called that amount “absurd” at a hearing Thursday, and urged Judge John Olson to impose a reasonable and rational amount.

The teen from Vancouver, Washington, did not attend the hearing. He pleaded guilty in February to reckless burning of public and private property and other charges. Olson sentenced him to community service and probation.

The September blaze forced evacuations, caused the extended shutdown of a major interstate highway and sent ash raining down on Portland for days.