Woman arrested twice for arson sent to state hospital

Erin Jaynel Engelson

The part-time employee at Clatsop Community College who was arrested for arson twice at the college in the past two months is being sent to the Oregon State Hospital for treatment.

Clatsop County Circuit Court Judge Cindee Matyas found Erin Jaynel Engelson, 37, of Naselle unable to aid and assist in her criminal case and ordered her to be transported to the state hospital.

The court ruling is based off of a request from defense lawyer Kris Kaino, observations and reports from Clatsop County Jail staff and a consultation report from Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare.

Engelson will be evaluated within 60 days at the state hospital to determine whether she will have the capacity to stand trial.

“Defense counsel has met with the defendant at the Clatsop County Jail and believes she clearly is suffering from a mental disease or defect that makes her currently unable to aid and assist in her defense,” Kaino wrote in a court filing.

A report from the county jail details Engelson’s behavior, which is consistent with someone suffering from significant mental health issues. The report describes her throwing a milk box, bread and clothing through the food slot on her cell door. She also appeared to be talking to shadows of herself as if they were a person and was throwing her food around the cell.

Engleson was arrested Jan. 15 for attempting to start a bonfire outside the art building on the college campus. She reportedly used pieces of wood pallets, wood shavings and other items to try to start the fire.

At the time, she was out of jail on a release agreement that prohibited her from being at the college. She was arrested in December after police found fire damage, estimated at $250, on the floor area of the college’s science lab. The arrest followed a police investigation into a report by the college.

She is being charged with first-degree arson, first-degree attempted arson, second-degree burglary and second-degree criminal trespass for the two incidents.

A status hearing to address the results of her evaluation is scheduled for late March.

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