Human remains found on property of George Atiyeh, missing in wildfire


The Medical Examiner's Office has not confirmed an identity

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Human remains were found on the property of missing man, George Atiyeh, in the North Fork Road area on Thursday, said Marion County authorities.

Officials have not confirmed the identity of the body. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said they are awaiting the final report from the medical examiner. The remains mark the fifth fatality attributed to wildfires in Marion County.

Atiyeh has been missing since the Beachie Creek fire burned down his house near Lyon, southeast of Salem, more than a week ago. His daughter said she last talked to him on Monday night, Sept. 7, and that he was determined to stay because he didn’t believe he was in danger. She said search parties had been looking for him.

The 72-year-old fought for years in the 1980s to block the U.S. Forest Service from clear-cutting the area around Opal Creek, a pristine area in the Willamette National Forest known for its ancient trees, including a 270-foot tall Douglas fir thought to be 1,000 years old. Federal legislation protecting the area passed in 1996.

The Opal Creek area was hit by the same fire that destroyed Atiyeh’s home, but the extent of the damage there is so far unknown because it remains inaccessible.

Atiyeh is also the nephew of the late Governor Vic Atiyeh, who served from 1979 to 1987.

This is a developing story.

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