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Problems continue to mount up for Lake Oswegos Buford

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Gary Buford

A Lake Oswego resident who bit a police officer during a check for tree code violations is facing criminal charges in Clackamas County Circuit Court.

Gary Buford, 72, turned himself in to the county jail Monday and was released after he posted bail.

Judge Katherine Weber had signed a warrant for his arrest with bail set at $40,000 after Buford failed to appear at the courthouse for his scheduled arraignment May 12.

Clackamas County Deputy District Attorney Lewis Burkhart declined to give any specifics about the case but said Buford was indicted by a grand jury on multiple charges, including one count each of assault of a public safety officer, interference with a peace officer, obstruction of governmental administration and harassment. He also faces two counts of resisting arrest.

'For 35 minutes he refused to comply with any directives,' Burkhart told the judge at the arraignment hearing, noting Buford also became 'physical' with at least two police officers at the scene.

The incident happened April 14 at Buford's home on Camelot Court, where city staff members responded to a complaint about possibly illegal tree cutting.

After viewing stacked logs on Buford's property from a nearby yard, a city code enforcement officer and arborist served a search warrant to Buford to measure stumps in his yard. They brought along a police officer, which is protocol.

Few details are available about the physical altercation that occurred during the visit, but interim police Chief Don Forman said an officer called for backup to deal with a 'strained' situation.

At some point, one of the police officers suffered a human bite, he said. The officer was treated for the wound at a local hospital.

In addition to the criminal charges, Buford is accused of cutting down 11 trees without the required permits. He has until the end of this week to pay enforcement and restoration fees totaling $5,983 or the city will issue citations. In that case the municipal court could require another $1,000 per tree removed, in addition to the other fines.

Lake Oswego sets strict rules to protect its urban tree canopy, requiring permits to cut any trunk larger than 5 inches in diameter.

Buford has declined to comment, and his wife, Betty, said they've been advised not to speak about the case. She also declined to comment through an attorney.

Gary Buford's next court date is set for June 16, according to the county jail.