▶️ Authorities investigating possible hate crime in Bend

BY ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

A Portland resident is claiming they were the victim of a hate crime in Central Oregon, but the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Portland Police haven’t been able to reach them to verify their story.

The resident, who asked to be identified as M. Olson, decided to take a trip to Central Oregon last week for a camping trip with their dog Cricket.

“I was looking for a campsite that I’d found online as a free campsite.” 

Their directions took them to an area near China Hat Road and the Fort Rock OHV Trail System just east of Bend.

They spent several days hopping around to camp in several different spots in the area. On Monday, their last morning out in the wilderness, something strange happened.

“In the middle of the night I thought I could hear someone opening the doors to the Jeep,” Olson said. 

No one ever entered the vehicle and in the morning M and Cricket prepared to get ready to go.

Olson left Cricket in the car to relieve themself in the woods, and says they were attacked.

“I hear someone behind me and I feel what I thought was a punch as I’m squatting down.”

Olson says it wasn’t a punch, but a knife.

Olson credits thick clothes and his cell phone which was in their front breast pocket that saved them  from the worst of the attack.

Somehow, Olson managed to get away.

“I just run, I’m trying to get back to Cricket! I get back there and there’s graffiti on the Jeep. The slur, the swastika, the other side of the Jeep just said, “Go home,'” he said. 

Olson and Cricket eventually made it to the Oregon Badlands Trailhead where they then posted to social media to let friends and family know what had happened, and that they were headed back to Portland. They eventually made it home safely where they reached out to the Deschutes National Forest and spoke with local law enforcement about the incident.

“Deschutes County Sheriff had reached out to me said, “We believe this might have happened in our area, we saw online something happened.”

Olson says a Portland Police Officer also reached out, leaving his contact information.

Though many were supportive after Olson posted the story to social media and his neighborhood app, there were others who questioned the story and even, Olson says, began harassing them.

“I have people I do not know essentially blackmailing me to tell them the case number. Literally people just, “Send us the case number and this all stops!” 

Olson, however, says that they’re not telling the story for publicity, but to remind people to treat others with kindness, and help one another.

“Deeply look at who you’re connected to in your community or if you’re not connected to them and take account. Are you looking out for each other?”

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