Oregon firefighter who locked man in cargo container guilty of kidnapping, jury rules

The Chronicle reports

“El Jefe is going to see you in the morning.”

Portland firefighter Douglas Bourland uttered those final words of warning as the door of a shipping container clicked shut, according to the testimony of the man who was locked inside those metal walls as punishment for double-crossing Bourland.

In reality, there was no El Jefe — Spanish for boss. Instead, prosecutors said the empty talk of “cartels” and “Asian triads” scared Colbey Fleishman into revealing where he had hidden about 260 pounds of cannabis that he stole from Bourland’s business, the Oregon Hemp House.

After a three-day trial earlier this month, a Multnomah County jury found Bourland guilty of two counts of first-degree kidnapping. The 48-year-old has been on unpaid leave from Portland Fire & Rescue since his indictment two days after the Aug. 14, 2021, abduction.

Fire Bureau officials said they will now proceed with their own internal investigation.

“The city and bureau have policies related to felony convictions for its employees, and are analyzing Mr. Bourland’s case carefully against those policies to determine appropriate next steps related to his employment,” said spokesperson Rick Graves.

During the trial, Fleishman, 22, said he had gone to Hemp House a half-dozen times, where Bourland would secretly sell him marijuana out the back door. The store was licensed to sell only CBD, he said. Fleishman said he busted a window and boosted about $40,000 worth of low-grade cannabis on Aug. 13, 2021.

The next night, Fleishman said he finished a steakhouse dinner downtown when an associate of Bourland’s, Edward Simmons, stuffed him into the back of a black Range Rover driven by Bourland. By chance, a ride-share driver spotted the altercation and snapped a photo for police.

Simmons and another man, Hong Lee, roughed up Fleishman as Bourland drove around for three-quarters of an hour, eventually arriving at Bourland’s grow-op on Southeast Eagle Creek Road in Estacada, according to trial testimony.

Lee, the chief grower at the farm, testified that he was well aware that Bourland diverted some of the marijuana out of the legal system. Lee said that Bourland gave him a handgun earlier that evening and told him to threaten Fleishman with it.

They left Fleishman locked inside the container on the farm and drove back toward Portland to visit a strip club, Lee said.

Prosecutors didn’t charge Bourland with any drug offenses but said the diversion made it impossible for Bourland to report the robbery.

“Mr. Bourland had to take matters into his own hands,” Deputy District Attorney Eric Palmer said during closing arguments. “He recruited two of his associates to do his dirty work and he orchestrated this whole operation.”

Officers were on the lookout for Bourland’s SUV and pulled him over around 2:30 a.m. Lee said he told police where to find Fleishman, who was rescued by police after 10 hours of confinement.

Defense attorney Josephine Townsend argued that Lee’s testimony wasn’t credible, noting that Lee is set to receive a five-year sentence as part of a plea deal in exchange for cooperating. Townsend suggested that Bourland was actually under duress and an unwilling participant in the kidnapping, forced to play along because Lee had a gun.

She called the line about El Jefe invented “movie screen talk” and noted that Bourland gave Fleishman water and a sweater before he was locked in the air-conditioned container.

The jury disagreed, deliberating for only three hours before delivering a guilty verdict on both counts.

Fleishman received immunity for the burglary of the shop in exchange for testifying, according to prosecutors. Simmons, who didn’t testify, has pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted kidnapping and is slated for a 6¾-year punishment.

Bourland, was joined the Fire Bureau in 2008, remains out of custody ahead of sentencing next month.


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