Oregon MTB Trail Vandal Arrested
Over the summer, Ashland, OR-area mountain bikers began encountering—sometimes with painful results—oddball obstacles on Forest Service trails. There were nails on the ground, logs pulled across the path on hills and, in some cases, nylon cord strung chest-height across trails on blind corners. Local riders were shocked and confused, and more than a little worried, as at least three crashed, sustaining minor injuries. Who hated mountain bikers so much that he'd want to injure them?
Well, the answer is out now. His name is Jackson Tyler Dempsey, 57, and he's a government-employed psychiatrist (rich, isn't it?) from Ashland. He was arrested in late July, but wasn't identified by the Forest Service until this weekend, when his late October court date was set. On July 22, Ashland mountain biker and owner of Ashland Mountain Adventures (a downhill mountain-biking shuttle service in the Siskiyou Mountains) spotted a susicious-looking man walking on the mountain bike trails and reported him to a Forest Service officer. The officer found Dempsey near Mount Ashland later that morning, and Dempsey admitted to sabotaging the trails on at least five separate occasions because "he did not like downhill mountain bikers."
This is disturbing news, indeed. As if road raging motorists weren't already enough of a problem, now cyclists have to worry about what madman they might encounter on the trail—and in the biking paradise of Oregon, to boot. This isn't the first case of cyclist-targeted sabotage in the Evergreen State. Last fall, someone was laying tack strips in Portland bike lanes. Portland's anonymous saboteur was never caught, but at least Oregonian bikers can rest easy that Dempsey will face justice. He's being charged with fourth-degree assault and three counts of reckless endangerment, and is due in court Oct. 29. And the best news? Since his arrest, there's been no additional sabotage.