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Troutdale settles Padgett case

City purchases Lucas Padgett property, dismissing county case

After an inconspicuous resolution during the Oct. 13 Troutdale City Council meeting, Mayor Doug Daoust announced the city has reached a settlement with Lucas Padgett.

Following the June 2014 shooting at Reynolds High School at which Padgett's brother, 15-year-old Jared Padgett, shot and killed student Emilio Hoffman and wounded a teacher before killing himself, Lucas Padgett's rifle and other items were confiscated by the Troutdale Police Department. The items included a Daniel Defense Armament Carbine rifle, which was used in the shooting, along with eight 30-round Magpul magazines, one “plate carrier” vest and a U.S. Army issued “laundry bag.” Padgett had filed a suit with the Multnomah County Circuit Court seeking the return of these items.

On Sept. 16, Judge Michael Greenlick ruled the city had 45 days to prove its necessary to keep Lucas Padgett's rifle as evidence, or return it.

“I have never been charged with any offense connected herewith,” Padgett said in his motion. “I am entitled to their return and there is no legal impediment to my possession of said property.”

The city had argued the items were evidence in an open case and could be used in the future if charges were ever filed.

“That there may or may not be immediate plans to charge any person in connection with the deaths of either of the deceased young men is irrelevant," a city response issued Sept. 10 read. "So long as it remains a possibility that the materials that are sought for release may be needed for evidentiary purposes to support a future criminal charge, neither the materials’ evidentiary value nor the state’s obligation to preserve such evidence is diminished.”

At the most recent council meeting Oct. 13, the council approved a resolution on its consent agenda to "acquire certain personal property and settle certain litigation."

The materials at the time simply stated some items would be returned and the city would seek to pay fair value for other items, totaling $3,950, allocated from the city’s contingency fund. The settlement kept all the items collected as evidence in the city's hands.

City Attorney Ed Trompke said the issue was settled in this way for two reasons.

“One, to say it's just about the evidence. That's all it was,” Trompke said. “It cited the case number and said it was a case settlement. Second, was to not open up the community to a divisive debate.”

Trompke added he wrote the resolution and has no regrets with the wording he chose. The settlement ended up on the consent agenda, he said, because none of the council members had an issue with the action. If an issue is likely to have little or no discussion, it is typically placed on the consent agenda.

“It was a routine matter we handled in a routine way,” Trompke said. “No one at the city thought it was more than a settlement.”

Daoust said the court case clearly indicated Padgett should have his items returned to him.

"Understanding the emotional trauma that both the Hoffman and Padgett families have been through, the City of Troutdale reached out to Lucas Padgett to seek a compromise that would be acceptable to all involved and help continue the healing process of this terrible tragedy,” Daoust said in a press release issued Tuesday, Oct. 20. "An agreement was reached in which Lucas Padgett transferred his property to the city and dismissed the case. At the appropriate time the city will request an order for final disposition of the property.”

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