Deer Ridge prison escapee caught in Portland

Madras prisons first escapee on the run for over a month

PORTLAND, Ore. - After more than a month on the lam, federal officials caught an escaped Deer Ridge Correctional Institution prisoner on Friday afternoon in downtown Portland, officials said Monday.

Federal Protective Service told The Oregonian officers spotted Clinton Orvill Swearingen outside Pioneer Courthouse on Friday at about 4 p.m. He was sitting with a backpack and other gear against a wall at the government building, which raised their concerns, according to Supervisory U.S. Deputy Marshal Eric Wahlstrom.

When officers asked for his ID, they said Swearingen reached into his wallet, then bolted down the street.

Officers chased the 31-year-old fugitive and took him down at Southwest 4th and Alder streets, Wahlstrom said.

Swearingen was taken to the downtown Justice Center Jail, where a fingerprint check made the link to the May 4th escape from the prison near Madras.

The inmate from Linn County was the first convict to flee the 774-bed minimum-security facility since it opened east of Madras in the fall of 2007.

After his re-arrest, he was booked for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and another misdemeanor charge, records showed.

His escape was discovered at the 10:15 p.m. inmate count on Sunday, May 4th. Surveillance video footage showed Swearingen scaling a razor-wire fence at 9:20 p.m.

Residents in and around Madras were warned to be on the lookout. Authorities soon found bloody clothes in a Madras neighborhood, as well as a broken-down SUV he apparently stole from a nearby residence.

Neighbors expressed concern about a lack of communication due to the breakdown of a emergency phone alert system for such cases, and state Department of Corrections officials vowed a fix.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins said he believed Swearingen had fled the area, and he was spotted in Mill City in May 9th, the last publicly reported sighting until Friday.

Swearingen was serving time at the minimum-security prison on theft, burglary and stolen car convictions out of Linn County, corrections officials reported.

A state Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Monday that when Swearingen returns to state custody, he'll be taken to the intake center at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, south of Portland, where he'll undergo an "intake assessment" to determine where best to place him.

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