Dave Dahl opens up about mental illness

Dave's Killer Bread founder faces 14 charges in relation to a November 2013 'mental health crisis'

Dave Dahl, founder of Dave's Killer Breads, speaks to KOIN 6 October 9, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Dave Dahl, founder of Dave's Killer Breads, speaks to KOIN 6 October 9, 2014. (KOIN 6)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Inmates don’t like to tell on themselves, says Dave Dahl. But during his time in prison, he did, and it saved his life.

Dahl, who opened successful bread company Dave’s Killer Bread after years spent in prison, said he began taking anti-depressants while serving time for charges related to methamphetamine use.

Dave Dahl sat down for an extended interview with KOIN 6 News reporter Amy Frazier. Video of a large portion of the interview is further down in this article.

“It changed my life,” he said. Anti-depressants helped him conquer an addiction, to methamphetamines, which he had used to self-medicate his depression, he said.

But in 2013, he went off his medication.

“Your brain plays tricks on you when you start feeling better,” he said. November 14, 2013, police were called to a Cedar Hills home on the report of a disturbance, after which Dahl allegedly rammed three police cars, sending three officers to the hospital.

When Dahl made his first court appearance, his criminal defense attorney, Stephen Houze, described the situation as a “mental health crisis.”

Dave Dahl, founder of Dave's Killer Breads, speaks to KOIN 6 October 9, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Dave Dahl, founder of Dave’s Killer Breads, speaks to KOIN 6 October 9, 2014. (KOIN 6)

Looking back and moving forward

Dahl said he only remembers flashes of the night he went to jail following his run-in with police.

“When I listen to recordings my girlfriend made, it was gibberish,” he said. Dahl is in treatment for bipolar disorder, including medication.

Dahl said he takes responsibility for his actions, and continues to advocate for mental health treatment and training.

“My opinion is that there could be some training that would make a difference,” he said.  “But I’m not here to bash anybody.”

Living with bipolar 

Dave's Killer Bread founder Dave Dahl during an interview at the KOIN studios, Oct. 9, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Dave’s Killer Bread founder Dave Dahl during an interview at the KOIN studios, Oct. 9, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

Dahl, who is diagnosed with bipolar 1, said he spends much of his time focusing on a charity foundation which “helps others who haven’t found their way in life.”

He said living with bipolar disorder is difficult, but he continues to move forward.

“The lows are horrible, because you just don’t believe in anything,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of people who think I’m a jackass.”

But still, he is feeling good about life, he said.

“The more you give, the more you get back,” said Dahl. “It’s exponential.”

The trial 

Tuesday, Dahl’s hearing was rescheduled to Friday, October 17.

Dahl said he is not excited about the stipulated facts trial, but is ready for it to be over. He faces 14 charges related to his arrest last November.

Legal observers said it is likely the judge will make a finding of guilty except for insanity.

The judge is likely to place the Dahl under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB) or the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), officials said.

As for media reports, Dahl said he tries not to read about himself.

“Some of it’s just downright hurtful,” he said. “Sometimes I can’t help it, it kind of messes up my day.”

A positive outlook

“If I was in prison, I’d make the most of it,“ said Dahl.  “I think that I could accomplish a lot in prison, it wouldn’t down me out too much.”

Dahl, who is the loving owner of three cats, said he spends his days working out, working on music projects, and working on his foundation.

“It takes me an hour and a half to work up the courage to go work out,” he said. But, ultimately, his goal is to practice humility and plant seeds for others to do good.

“Humility is just being yourself,” said Dahl. “I’m a good guy and I want to do good things.”

If you or someone you know is suffering a mental health crisis, resources are available. 

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