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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Setting Fire to Landmark Portland Restaurant

Marcus Allen Tyler was the Kitchen Manager at Pal’s Shanty Tavern

PORTLAND, Ore. – Marcus Allen Tyler, 31, of Portland, was sentenced today to 71 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman.  In November 2014, Tyler pled guilty to the felony offense of arson.  Tyler is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

After Tyler has completed his 71 months in prison, he must serve three years of federal supervised release.  While on supervised release, Tyler will be required to pay restitution for the damage caused by the fire.

According to statements made in federal court, Tyler was the kitchen manager at Pal’s Shanty Tavern, located at 4630 NE Sandy Boulevard, in Portland, Oregon.  Tyler had worked for Pal’s Shanty Tavern for five years, but he became upset with his employers because he believed that the waiters were not sharing enough of their tips with him.

In the early morning hours of November 15, 2013, Tyler used his key to enter Pal’s Shanty Tavern after it had closed for the night.  Tyler spread gasoline in the kitchen to start a fire in the restaurant.  Tyler intended for his arson to conceal a separate crime that night, which was a plan to steal an ATM that was located inside of Pal’s Shanty Tavern.  After Tyler ignited the gasoline with a lighter, he slipped and fell on the gasoline that he had poured, and he was severely burned.  Firefighters were called to respond to the fire, and it took 53 Portland firefighters to finally extinguish the fire, which destroyed Pal’s Shanty Tavern.

Tyler, who had fled the scene before firefighters arrived, was eventually transported to the hospital. A police investigation almost immediately revealed Tyler’s involvement in the arson.

“This sentence holds the defendant responsible for the crime of arson and recognizes the impact on the community.  The defendant’s criminal actions were a betrayal to the long time owners and the neighborhood, Pal’s Shanty has been a Portland landmark and meeting establishment since 1966,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.  “My office commends the Portland Fire & Rescue Bureau for their investigation of this case.”

Pal’s Shanty Tavern was a family-owned business that had been operating in Northeast Portland’s Hollywood District since the 1960s.  It has not reopened since the arson.

"This fire put a well-known Portland establishment, Pal's Shanty, out of business. The successful prosecution of arson brings some closure to the owners, employees, and all the people who loved this local establishment,” said, Erin Janssens, Chief of Portland Fire & Rescue Bureau.

This case was investigated by the Portland Fire & Rescue Bureau and the Portland Police Bureau.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Pamala R. Holsinger and Craig J. Gabriel.

Violent Crime
Updated June 24, 2015