RAINIER, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office confirmed two men were arrested in connection with gay slurs spray painted on a grandmother’s home.
Cory Johnson, 18, and Justin Harrison, 20, were taken into custody late Wednesday night. Both were charged with intimidation and criminal mischief.
Johnson remains in custody, while Harrison posted bail.
The two men are accused of spray painted homophobic slurs on the side of Melanie Powell’s Rainier home.
“I was afraid they’d get away with it, and I’m tired of being harassed,” said Powell.
Though news of the arrest was a relief, Powell said it’s hard to accept because one of the suspects is her neighbor.
“It is tough because I’ve known him since he was 6-years-old,” said Powell.
Powell said she saw the suspects in her backyard Tuesday night tagging her home with the homophobic slurs because she is gay.
However, at least one of the suspects said he has no problem with homosexuals.
“I got a couple friends that are gay, too. I’ve got no problem with it,” said Harrison.
In fact, Harrison blames the whole ordeal on Powell, claiming she is ganging up on him because he quit doing her chores.
“And it just keeps going downhill, and now that I work for the managers, they don’t like the managers,” said Harrison.
Powell said in addition to the recent vandalism, the manager of the trailer park she lives at has also targeted her because of her sexual orientation.
In the last few months, Powell said the new property manager has been out to get her, issuing her notice after notice and a list of unnecessary repairs.
At least five homeowners have recently moved out of the trailer park, citing poor management as the reason for doing so.
When confronted, the park’s manager, Maureena Schmaing, denied she was targeting Powell because of her sexual orientation.
“I’m a landlord. I follow the Manufacturing Housing Oregon Law, and I follow all the Title 10 Law with any park site I manage,” said Schmaing.
She also claimed if Powell needed an extension on the Sept. 7 deadline, she could have one of up to 90 days to complete the requested repairs.
Powell said she is in the process of hiring an attorney.