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Assault suspect accused of trying to run over men at marijuana grow

Phil Wright

East Oregonian

Published on September 22, 2017 5:51PM

Last changed on September 22, 2017 8:55PM

Former marijuana business owner and convicted felon Michael Alan Parker ended Wednesday night in Umatilla County sheriff’s handcuffs, accused of assault at a Hermiston marijuana grow.

The sheriff’s office reported deputies Jon Roberts and Travis Stark responded to a location on North Highway 395 near Hermiston for a report of a driving complaint and assault.

County Undersheriff Jim Littlefield said the sheriff’s office would not provide a more specific address because there is a marijuana grow operation at the location.

The deputies found two men who claimed Parker, 57, was not welcome there but refused to leave.

“The assault victims reported Parker started fighting with them and warned them that they would need guns to keep him away,” according to the sheriff’s statement.

They claimed Parker got in his vehicle and tried to run over one of them, but hit a fence and became stuck. He ran away, the sheriff’s office reported, and the two victims left to call police. When they returned, they found several windows broken out of their motor homes and several damaged marijuana plants.

Undersheriff Jim Littlefield said the deputies found Parker at the scene and arrested him on the following: second-degree attempted assault, fourth-degree assault, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, one of second degree criminal mischief, second-degree trespass and two counts of menacing.

Deputies booked Parker into the county jail in Pendleton late Wednesday, according to online jail roster. Littlefield said Parker soon bailed out. Circuit court records show the district attorney’s office has yet to file charges against Parker. The case remains under investigation.

Parker is the former owner of the Columbia Basin Compassion Center medical marijuana dispensary. When reached Friday, Parker would not comment on the arrest but stressed it had nothing to do with High Desert Cannabis, 2003 S.W. Emigrant Ave. in Pendleton. He also asserted he has no interest in the business other than buying his marijuana there. He hung up twice during questions and did not answer a third call.

The morning of his arrest, Parker was at the Pendleton Police Department. Police Chief Stuart Roberts said the he was trying to demonstrate he had some authority over the High Desert Cannabis store.

Parker’s daughter, Aimee Parker, co-owns High Desert with Michael Ekblad. Both live in Hermiston, according to state records. Police Chief Roberts said the two appear to be at odds.

Roberts said Michael Parker came to his office Wednesday morning upset when High Desert staff would not allow him into the store. Roberts said Parker showed paperwork from his attorney, Will Perkinson — who also is the Pendleton municipal judge — intended for Aimee Parker to relinquish some authority in the business and give her father a say in its operations.

Parker said he was about to head down to the business and deal with the situation, according to Roberts, who said he advised Parker not to cause trouble. Roberts said he agreed with Parker’s request to an officer to accompany him to the marijuana store.

“We were there on a kind of peacekeeping mission more than anything else,” Roberts said.

Roberts said the officer at the scene called the local marijuana compliance agent for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, and the agent ruled Parker could not manage the store. Roberts said Parker was angry when he left.

While he can’t manage the store, Roberts said he vetted Parker as an employee. Parker has an extensive criminal history, Roberts said, but nothing in recent years that would disqualify him from working in a marijuana retail business.

The East Oregonian called Ekblad, but his father, William Reuter, answered. Reuter said neither he nor his son were at the store when Parker was there. Reuter refused to answer questions, stated he and Ekblad had no comment and hung up. Staff at High Desert Cannabis also did not want to talk. And Aimee Parker did not respond to a message via social media before end of work Friday.


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