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Rep. Hieb will not face charges after arrest at Clackamas County Fair

State Rep. James Hieb, R-Canby, was arrested Aug. 17 at the Clackamas County Fair on suspicion of disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer.
Credit: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
Oregon State Rep. James Hieb, R-Canby, was arrested Aug. 17 at the Clackamas County Fair on suspicion of disorderly conduct.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon State Rep. James Hieb, R-Canby, won't face charges in connection with his Aug. 17 arrest for alleged disorderly conduct and other charges at Clackamas County Fairgrounds.

The Clackamas County district attorney said in a memo (read the full memo at the bottom of this article) that he's declining to pursue charges based on a lack of evidence and a recent change in Oregon law.

Hieb was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer on Aug. 17. He later told KGW that the incident happened after a woman asked him to put out a cigarette, but he didn't offer a clear explanation for why things escalated.

RELATED: GOP lawmaker arrested, accused of disorderly conduct at Clackamas County Fair

KGW obtained body camera footage through a public records request. Police turned over three videos of the incident, each taken from a different officer's body-worn camera. Hieb's face is blurred in the video, along with the officers, as required by state public records law.

In the videos, Hieb slurs his words and becomes verbally combative with deputies after acknowledging he is a political official. Heib wore a white campaign polo shirt.  

"If you are running for political office, this is probably not the look you want," said one deputy. "We've had several calls from employees telling us that you refused to put out a cigarette and refused to leave."

RELATED: Body camera footage of Rep. Hieb arrest released

Smoking is prohibited at the fairgrounds. Hieb claimed he was never asked to leave. 

When deputies asked to see Hieb's identification, he refused. Deputies then put Hieb into handcuffs. Hieb told police he had a firearm on his hip, which was removed by deputies without incident.

Watch the full video: 

During further questioning, Hieb downplayed his interaction with fairgrounds staff. "Some lady just walked up and was like, F--- you and your cigarette. Long story, short," said Hieb. "Do you know how many people work for the fair? Or fairgrounds? Anybody can say I work for the fair." 

Deputies tried repeatedly to calm Hieb down and encourage him to cooperate, suggesting they would issue him an exclusion notice from the fairgrounds and then drive him home. 

"Would you like to go home tonight," a deputy asked. "No," responded Hieb. "I love this kind of s---."

Instead, Hieb continued to debate deputies and challenged them to arrest him.

At one point, Hieb fell to the ground while in handcuffs and swore at officers.

"There we go mother f---er. Hurt me," Hieb said to deputies. "What are you going to do?"

A deputy responded, "Because of your behavior we're taking you to the Clackamas County jail."

The sheriff's office recommended charges of second-degree disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer and second-degree criminal trespass.

In the memo, Clackamas County Deputy District Attorney Bryan Brock determined Hieb's behavior did not rise to the level of creating a disturbance to qualify for disorderly conduct. Brock also concluded prosecutors couldn't prove the criminal trespass allegation because the member of the fair board who told Hieb to stop smoking didn't tell him to leave.

Deputies also said Hieb refused to show them his identification, but Brock noted that is no longer the crime of interfering with an officer, after the Oregon Legislature changed the law in 2021.

Hieb was appointed in February to represent Oregon House District 39 by Clackamas and Marion County commissioners, replacing House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, who stepped down to run for governor.

He has a history of other run-ins with police including citations in 2004 for speeding, fleeing a police officer and driving under the influence, 2008 for failure to register a vehicle and carry insurance, 2012 for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct and 2019 for failure to use safety belts.


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