Offenses Against Property

ORS 164.325
Arson in the first degree


A person commits the crime of arson in the first degree if:


By starting a fire or causing an explosion, the person intentionally damages:


Protected property of another;


Any property, whether the property of the person or the property of another person, and such act recklessly places another person in danger of physical injury or protected property of another in danger of damage; or


Any property, whether the property of the person or the property of another person, and recklessly causes serious physical injury to a firefighter or peace officer acting in the line of duty relating to the fire; or


By knowingly engaging in the manufacture of methamphetamine, the person causes fire or causes an explosion that damages property described in paragraph (a) of this subsection.


Arson in the first degree is a Class A felony. [1971 c.743 §144; 1991 c.946 §1; 2005 c.706 §4]

Notes of Decisions

State failed to corroborate confession of attempted arson with evidence showing that on day following attempted arson house in question burned, and while evidence of second day’s burning would tend to prove that defendant engaged in continuing course of conduct it did not provide independent corroborative evidence of attempted arson of previous day. State v. Swearengin, 32 Or App 349, 573 P2d 362 (1978)

Arson in second degree may be lesser included offense under indictment for arson in first degree of another’s protected property. State v. Gibson, 42 Or App 575, 600 P2d 962 (1979), Sup Ct review denied

Where fires were started in commercial establishment half hour prior to time employes customarily arrived, defendant was entitled to instruction on lesser included offense of arson in second degree. State v. Gibson, 42 Or App 575, 600 P2d 962 (1979), Sup Ct review denied

Since legislature did not intend that defendant who set fire to number of items with objective of damaging single protected structure should be subjected to multiple convictions and sentences, conviction of three counts of violation of this section and imposition of three consecutive terms was improper and the case was remanded to enter judgment for conviction of one count and resentencing. State v. King, 42 Or App 721, 601 P2d 845 (1979)

As element of proof under this section, state must prove property had “value” as defined by ORS 164.005 and neither “symbolic value” or “value in use” is sufficient; therefore, burning rag could not support conviction of first degree arson. State v. Whitley, 295 Or 455, 666 P2d 1340 (1983)

Since property owner is sole victim of act damaging property, multiple counts based on single act exposing multiple entities to risk of physical injury or other secondary consequences merge. State v. Luers, 211 Or App 34, 153 P3d 688 (2007), modified 213 Or App 389, 160 P3d 1013 (2007)

Correction: The citation to State v. Washington in the permanent edition should be 5 Or App 347.

COMPLETED CITATIONS: State v. Washington, 5 Or App 347, 483 P2d 465 (1971), Sup Ct review denied


Last accessed
Mar. 11, 2023