Portland, OR

Wednesday in Portland: Officials continue search for missing hiker, mosquito population surges

Emily Scarvie

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, July 13 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Officials continue search for missing Portland hiker

Officials are continuing their search on Wednesday for a missing Portland man who went hiking in Corbett on Monday and hasn’t been heard from since. Christopher Smaka, 53, reportedly told friends and family he was going to go for a swim in the Sandy River, but wasn’t planning to camp overnight. Officers found his shoes, identification and other personal items next to the river. His car was found near the 39000 block of Southeast Gordan Creek Road.

Deputies used kayaks to search the river and a drone was used to search from the air. Sgt. Brian Gerkman, with Multnomah County Search and Rescue, said the Sandy River can be more dangerous than it looks.

“A lot of times in the hot weather this time of year people underestimate the Sandy River significantly. It is still very cold, it’s glacier melt, people will see that it looks low and clear, but that river still moves rapidly and is very cold,” he said.

2. Mosquito population surges across Portland metro area

Amid this year’s record spring rain and last year’s extremely high temperatures, large swaths of mosquitos are hatching across the Portland metro area this summer.

“We had a lot of flooding and a lot of rain very late which caused a giant mosquito hatch,” Bek Sudia, Vector Control supervisor for Multnomah County, said. “We’re seeing the highest numbers in my career that I have ever seen. When I say high numbers, I mean catching 11,000 mosquitos in a single trap… after 14 hours.”

Sudia said there would typically be less than a hundred insects in the same trap during a normal year. Multnomah County has been using its mosquito fogging truck in areas like Sauvie Island and Hayden Island to decrease the volume of adult mosquitos and prevent them from laying eggs.

To protect yourself, experts suggest using mosquito repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors and remembering that mosquitos are most active at dawn and dusk.

3. Portland named one of TIME's World's Greatest Places of 2022

TIME has named Portland one of the World’s Greatest Places of 2022, alongside the Great Barrier Reef, Seoul and The Arctic. The publication collected nominations for places “with an eye toward those offering new and exciting experiences.” Portland was selected because of its commitment to new infrastructure for bikers and walkers, as well as the planet.

“The Earl Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge opens July 31 and will connect the Central Eastside and Lloyd neighborhoods; the new, earthquake-resilient Ned Flanders Crossing pedestrian bridge (The Simpsons creator Matt Groenig was raised in Portland) connects the Northeast and Pearl districts; and Tilikum Crossing carries trains, buses, streetcars, cyclists and pedestrians over the Willamette River,” the publication said.

The 2022 list along includes one other Pacific Northwest spot, Tofino in British Columbia. It also includes four other U.S. destinations.

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