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Psychiatric patient missing from Junction City set fire to an Oregon church in 2019


Jordan James Savariego (via Oregon Health Authority)
Jordan James Savariego (via Oregon Health Authority)
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JUNCTION CITY, Ore. - The psychiatric patient reported missing from the Oregon State Hospital campus in Junction City was committed after being accused of setting fire to a church on the Oregon Coast.

Jordan Savariego was admitted from Lincoln County to the Junction City campus of Oregon State Hospital on Jan. 13, 2021. He was found Guilty Except for Insanity on the charges of Arson 1 and Aggravated Harassment in connection with a church fire in 2019.

Firefighters spent hours bringing a fire under control at Gleneden Beach Christian Church on Sept. 15, 2019.

"Initial reports indicated there were flames coming from the roof of the church and that the fire was spreading rapidly," the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said in a report.

"Firefighters worked aggressively to attack the stubborn fire which took over 3 hours to extinguish," the Depoe Bay Fire Department said. "Firefighters were able to save a large section of the church. There were no injuries reported."

The Lincoln County Fire Investigation Team determined the fire had been intentionally set, the sheriff's office said.

Deputies worked with the Toledo Police Department to locate and arrest a suspect in the case, identified as Savariego.

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Our newsroom reached out to Oregon State Hospital to find out why patients like Savariego go on "approved outings." Here is their full statement:

As patients progress in treatment, their treatment teams may request authorization for them to leave the hospital building, accompanied by staff. These outings are usually for therapeutic purposes, including helping people develop skills to live safely in the community. Approval to attend an outing is only granted following an independent review of the team’s assessment of risk for the patient. The review is conducted by clinicians with expertise in risk assessment, as well as security and administrative staff. Risk of harm to self and others, risk of unauthorized leave, and demonstrated success meeting expectations for safety within the hospital are considered. The review usually includes a discussion with the patient as well as the treatment team. The panel determines the conditions which must be present for the patient to be approved to leave the building on an outing – how many staff must be present, how many other patients may be present, etc. – to mitigate identified risks to the degree possible.
On the day of the outing, the patient is assessed by the nurse on duty and is only permitted to attend that specific outing if they are considered safe enough to do so. Additionally, one of the expectations is that if a patient is having difficulty on the outing, the group returns to the hospital. This process is successful for the vast majority of patient outings, though of course even the best risk assessment cannot predict any specific incident that may occur.
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