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Dorena assault victim speaks out after losing an eye

"As much as I love it here, I have been seriously considering selling my place and moving somewhere else."

Posted: Jul 26, 2021 7:08 PM

DORENA, Ore. -- After a man was assaulted, Dorena residents are questioning whether their streets are safe, and now the man is speaking out.

Victim Neal McDonald was walking his dog on the Fourth of July when the incident happened. He was taken to OHSU in Portland, where he had surgery on his eye. Due to the severity of the incident, McDonald ended up losing all vision in his right eye.

RELATED: SOME DORENA RESIDENTS CONCERNED FOR THEIR SAFETY AFTER ALLEGED ASSAULT

"I was kind of blind and dumb about it," McDonald said. "I should've been on guard about it, and I wasn't."

McDonald said that he moved to Dorena three years ago. Ever since he got to town, he said he's been a victim of many burglaries and a witness to many more.

"I hate going to town because when I go to town if I'm just going there to grab one thing at Walmart, I know that I'm going to be gone for an hour," McDonald said. "In that hour, if someone or the wrong person sees me leave, then what are they going to do in that hour."

McDonald said he feels like a prisoner in his own home. He moved to Dorena to be left alone and to be surrounded by beautiful scenery and the water.

But now, he said he wants to move, especially after he got attacked.

"As much as I love it here, I have been seriously considering selling my place and moving somewhere else," McDonald said.

McDonald didn't feel comfortable talking a lot about the incident because the investigation is still ongoing.

But his friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said a family is to blame and they're known to cause a ruckus throughout the community.

"There's one family that's up here that's just different; they are different," McDonald's friend said. "They tend to cause some problems. They don't have a place to live, so they are just going in and taking properties wherever people aren't living or wherever they feel like they can get in."

McDonald said there are a few criminal groups in Dorena. They are setting fires, vandalizing, stealing, and trespassing.

"I probably am going to move," McDonald said. "There are a couple of people who moved recently, and after they heard why happened to me, they were glad they left."

Community members said they want more attention from law enforcement. McDonald said he hopes his case will get the attention of deputies.

Sgt. Tom Speldrich of the Lane County Sheriff's Office said that due to the location of Dorena and their limited resources right now, patrols are very limited.

"In that area, it's the definition of rural. There's unfortunately not as much police presence as I know the majority of the community would like to see and also what we would like to provide," Speldrich said.

Speldrich said they are working on making Dorena a safer place.

"We do respond there, and safety of persons is our number one priority; protection of property comes just second of that," Speldrich said.

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