Incident Summary:

10/28/1996: Two members of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF), Jacob Ferguson and Josephine Overaker, were responsible for placing two incendiary devices at the Detroit Ranger Station in the Williamette National Forest in Detroit, Oregon in the United States. One device was lit and placed on the roof of the station, and the second ignited in the back of one of the United States Forest Service (USFS) pickup trucks. The one on the roof failed to detonate, but the arson from the second incendiary caused about $21,500 worth of damage to the ranger station facilities. There were no casualties in the incident. Ferguson and Overtaker also spray-painted graffiti on the trucks and walls of the building with slogans such as “Earth Liberation Front," the anarchist “A,” and “STOP RAPING OUR FORESTS U.S.F.S.” Ferguson and Overtaker were part of a group calling themselves "The Family," which proceeded to commit nearly 20 arson and ecotage attacks over a 6 year period. Upon fear of a life behind bars, Ferguson became a government informant and witness in the case, landing him a sentence of 2 years probation, and as of 2008, Overtaker remained a fugitive being sought by the government after being indicted for her involvement in the crimes.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:



Location Details:
at the Detroit Ranger Station in Williamette National Forest in Detroit, OR

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity United States Forest Service, Detroit Ranger Station
Specific Description building and trucks of the US Forest Service Detroit Ranger Station in Oregon
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage $21,500.00
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Gasoline or Alcohol
Weapon Details
two incendiary devices lit with incense sticks
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information Ferguson and Overtaker also spray-painted graffiti on the trucks and walls of the building with slogans such as “Earth Liberation Front," the anarchist “A,” and “STOP RAPING OUR FORESTS U.S.F.S.” Additionally, Elisha Dimatteo gave Ferguson and Overtaker a ride to Detroit and waited in the car while they placed the incendiaries at the station; however, the two never told Dimatteo of the incident, and it appears she was in no way knowingly involved in the actions of ALF or ELF. She was never charged in the incident, but it is unknown if she was a member of either ELF or ALF. Ferguson and Overtaker were part of a group of about 20 members from ELF and ALF, who called themselves "The Family" and committed nearly 20 acts of arson and ecotage over a 6 year period from 1995 through 2001. By 2006, all but four of the perpetrators had been captured for their roles in various incidents, and by 2008, the 16 indicted members had been convicted and sentenced for their crimes. Four remained fugitives, including Overtaker. Ferguson received 2 years probation in exchange for his role as a government informant and key witness.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Group Sub-name Claimed Responsibility
Animal Liberation Front (ALF) The Family No
Earth Liberation Front (ELF) The Family Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Note left at scene)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 2
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Brent L. Smith and Kelly R. Damphousse, " Patterns of precursor behaviors in the life span of a U.S. environmental terrorist group," Criminology & Public Policy, Volume 8, Issue 3, 2009.
U.S. Government’s Sentencing Memorandum for CR 06-60069, CR 06-60070, CR 06-60071, CR 06-60078, CR 06-60079, CR 06-60080, CR 06-60120, CR 06-60122, CR 06-60123, CR 06-60124, CR06-60125, and CR 06-60126. U.S. District Court: District of Oregon, Eugene, 2007.
William McCall, "Radical 'snitch' in Western arsons gets probation," Associated Press State & Local Wire, June 4, 2008.