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Fugitive racks up arson charges during Motel 6 capture

POWELL CLOSED


by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Before the morning rush hour began for the day, Portland Police shut down S.E. Powell Boulevard for several blocks, to deal with an armed and dangerous fugitive, holed up in the Motel 6.While making a routine check of the guest register at the S.E. Powell Boulevard Motel 6, at 3104 S.E. Powell Boulevard, in the early hours of April 22, Central Precinct police officers made a startling discovery.

One of the guests had outstanding parole warrants for a 2003 Assault in Clark County, Washington, and also a 1977 Homicide in Clark County, Nevada.

When officers tapped on the motel door of 57-year-old Terry Glenn Mortensen, at about 3 am, he was not receptive to coming out of the room.

Police started quietly evacuating the other motel guests, shut down S.E. Powell from 28th to 33rd Avenues – and activated the PPB Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT). Access was retained to the main entrance of Cleveland High School, however, just west of the closed section of Powell.

“A guest at the motel was scheduled for surgery that morning,” PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson revealed. “Officers gave the patient and family a ride to the hospital, so they could be on time for the surgery.”

Crisis Negotiators arrived and contacted Mortensen by phone. They talked with him for more than two hours, Simpson later said. He still refused to exit.

As THE BEE arrived at the standoff, the police radio crackled with the incident commander’s instruction to stop loud-hailing, after the negotiations had broken down.

Having learned that Mortensen might be armed with a shotgun, a hatchet, and several knives, the SERT squad set an “explosive breach” to blow open the motel room door, giving them a clear view of the room – and to “further encourage” Mortensen to surrender.

“Mortensen then lit the room on fire,” Simpson said. “And he started throwing knives – and a hatchet – at SERT officers, who were still outside the room at a safe distance. SERT officers then broke the front windows of the room and deployed tear gas into the room to encourage Mortensen to exit and surrender.”

At 6:21 am, Mortensen came to the window and started climbing out; officers rushed up to him and pulled him out of the window and away from the fire. He was taken into custody, and immediately given medical treatment. A Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 25 from Woodstock was on standby, and because of the commercial fire report, Truck 25 and Engine 9 joined it at the scene. Firefighters quickly extinguished the motel room blaze.

After being medically discharged, Mortensen was booked in to the Multnomah County Detention Center at 9:30 am, where he remained as THE BEE went to press, on two U.S. Marshall Fugitive holds.

He also racked up an impressive combined bail of $500,750, and faces new charges for two counts of Arson I, Criminal Mischief, and being a Criminal in Possession of a Weapon.