Jackson County severs ties with alleged trail saboteur

A man who the U.S. Forest Service says admitted to sabotaging bike trails in the Ashland watershed is no longer working as a psychiatrist for Jackson County, County Administrator Danny Jordan said Tuesday.

Jackson Tyler Dempsey, 57, is in negotiations with the state of Oregon seeking a plea agreement in his case, which both parties hope will be settled within two weeks, according to court records.

Dempsey was arrested in July when a Forest Service officer said that Dempsey admitted to stringing nylon cord and laying nails and vegetation across trails in the Ashland watershed.

Dempsey, who was charged with fourth-degree assault and three counts of reckless endangerment, said he sabotaged the trails because he "did not like downhill mountain bikers," according to the Forest Service report.

Jordan confirmed that Dempsey stopped working for Jackson County Mental Heath on Oct. 19, but he would not say whether Dempsey was fired or resigned. Jordan also declined to answer any questions about the case or Dempsey's employment.

Open positions for a psychiatrist, a mental health specialist and a division manager for the Mental Health Department were all posted on the county website last week.

When asked about Dempsey's case last month, Jordan said Dempsey should be afforded due process of law and that his alleged crimes did not conflict with his ability to perform his psychiatry job.

Jordan said then that the county would pay close attention to whether the Oregon Medical Board pursued any sanctions against Dempsey's medical license.

As of Tuesday, Dempsey was still a licensed psychiatrist with the state of Oregon, according to a representative with the Oregon Medical Board. The OMB has not reprimanded Dempsey in any way, the representative said.

Previous court dates of Sept. 24 and Oct. 29 were postponed because Dempsey and his attorney were working through negotiations with the state to resolve the case before it went to trial, according to court records.

A new trial date has been set for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 19 in Jackson County Circuit Court, provided a plea agreement isn't reached.

Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or tristow@mailtribune.com.

Correction: Headline has been changed to add the word "alleged" -- Dempsey has not been convicted of a crime.

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