A man who protests daily outside St. Charles Bend is the subject of an anti-stalking order by the wife of former gubernatorial and congressional candidate Knute Buehler.
In January, a judge ordered Dennis Michael Harny to cease all contact with Dr. Patricia Buehler and “all members of her immediate family and household,” meaning the order covers her husband as well, according to documents filed in Deschutes County Circuit Court.
A hearing to finalize the order is scheduled for Friday morning.
Patricia Buehler is an ophthalmic surgeon with an office near St. Charles Bend. Knute Buehler is an orthopedic surgeon who served on the St. Charles board from 2007 to 2018.
A St. Charles spokeswoman confirmed both doctors have admitting privileges to the hospital, though neither has worked as a hospital employee.
For the past six years, Harny has been banned from hospital property except as a patient of the Emergency Department, according to St. Charles spokeswoman Lisa Goodman.
Holding handwritten signs inveighing against a crooked hospital system for alleged mistreatment and displaying a heavily injured leg, Harny, 64, has been a regular presence across the street from St. Charles Bend for the better part of a decade.
“Dr. Knute, Dist. 54 — Why did the center drop my workers comp care after 28 years?” reads one of his signs critical of Knute Buehler, who represented Bend in the Oregon Legislature from 2014 until 2018, when he ran unsuccessfully for governor as the Republican nominee.
In December, Patricia Buehler contacted Bend Police with a stalking complaint, court records state. She told officers the only route by car to her office passes through the intersection at Neff Road and Medical Center Drive, where Harny regularly pickets. She said he’s yelled at her by name hundreds of times.
Harny started writing Knute Buehler’s name on protest signs after his election in 2014, despite the fact neither doctor had ever treated Harny. Patricia Buehler said Harny began fixating on her after a roadside encounter in 2016, court records state.
Harny wrote in a court document that it was Patricia Buehler who initiated contact with him, claiming she pulled up to him in her vehicle and yelled, “Knute is my husband and my daughter and I drive by here every day and we want his name off of there right now!”
Patricia Buehler told officers in December that Harny calls her “Dr. Patty Lucifer Buehler” and “satan in the flesh,” and occasionally points his finger at her like a gun. She said he followed her once on his motorcycle while screaming.
She told officers she lives “in fear for her life,” according to court records.
“His behavior causes me almost daily anxiety,” she wrote in a statement to Bend Police. “I believe his aggressive behaviors to me are getting increasingly threatening.”
Patricia Buehler provided officers with copies of letters sent to her by Harny with the return address: “Dennis Harny, corner of Neff/Medical Center Dr.”
The first letter, six pages long, begins, “First, I want to welcome you to the daily grinder. Patty, after our … meeting on Neff Road, I did everything I could to keep you out of my head but realized that in the situation I am in, I am unable to do so. So welcome to my daily grinder and you should know you are in with good company,” he wrote, adding the names of Bend City Manager Eric King, former Bend Police Chief Jim Porter, a St. Charles security guard and a landscaper who “attacked” him with a leaf blower.
“I feel like there are chemical changes going on in my head as the grinding continues to grind,” he wrote in the same letter. “Patty I need help.”
The letters describe three decades of bad breaks for Harny, from a severe work-related leg injury, to the death of his young son on the operating table in 1989, to a girlfriend’s suicide with his handgun. He claims Bend Police officers unfairly blamed him for the suicide, a circumstance he said led to his dismissal from St. Charles Bend after 12 years as a hospital volunteer.
“Patty there’s a lot of people that owe me an apology right now starting with chief Porter and ending with you,” he wrote in his six-page letter.. “I still cry every night because of what happened and how terrible you people are.”
Officers eventually contacted Harny at the corner of Neff Road and Medical Center Drive and when told Patricia Buehler was seeking a stalking order against him, reportedly said, “That sneaky b---h. She’s the one who’s been stalking me!” court records state.
A petition for a temporary protective order was filed in Deschutes County Circuit Court, and on Jan. 30, a judge signed an order stating Harny represents a “credible threat” to Patricia Buehler’s safety and forbidding him from attempting to contact her or her family.
He was further ordered to have a mental health evaluation, which he cooperated with and which he says he passed.
Harny responded by requesting a stalking order against Patricia Buehler, citing fears for his safety. He said hundreds of “Buehler supporters” shout abuse at him from the road, throw objects at him and drive in his direction to intimidate him.
“If a protection order is granted against me I would like a reciprocal order against her because I fear without one she may use it as a tool to further silence me from protesting her husband.”
A judge denied Harny’s request.
Patricia Buehler told police Harny won millions of dollars in the lottery years ago and lives comfortably in Bend.
A spokesman for the Oregon Lottery confirmed a man named Dennis M. Harny of Redmond won $4.5 million in 1998.
“He chose the lump sum option and received $2,125,000,” said lottery spokesman Matt Shelby.
Harny’s home and property on Awbrey Butte are valued at $805,000, according to Deschutes County property records.