Portland, OR

Monday in Portland: Black bear sightings reported around Forest Park, fire crews prepping for wildfire season and more

Emily Scarvie

Photo by(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Monday, May 22 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Black bear sightings reported around Portland's Forest Park

After multiple black bear sightings were reported in the area over the last week, Portland Parks & Recreation is placing warning signs in Forest Park. The latest encounter was last Thursday on the Leif Erikson Germantown Trail Head.

“I was going for a run in Forest Park after work and I was on the Leif Erikson trail, had just passed the 3 mile mark and I looked up ahead…. I saw a large dark figure,” Kristen Shaw told KGW. “And I recognized it was a bear.”

According to Shaw, the black bear she saw was the same one captured on video by another person near Northwest 53rd Drive last week. There are estimated to be 25-30 thousand black bears in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says there have only been five reported black bear sightings in Portland in the last three years. Four of those five sightings were this month.

ODFW said if people encounter a bear, they should not run, avoid eye contact, appear large and make a lot of noise. Anyone who sees a bear is asked to call the ODFW Sauvie Island Office at 503-621-3488.

2. Brothers presumed drowned on Clackamas River after raft flips

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office says two rafters in their 60s are presumed drowned after they went missing Friday on the Clackamas River. Three men were rafting toward Austin Hot Springs when their raft flipped over. One of the men, a 61-year-old, was able to get out of the water. He said he searched for the other two, who were 66- and 67-year-old brothers, but couldn’t locate them.

Their car was later found on a Forest Service Road and authorities determined the men were still missing, activating Clackamas County Search and Rescue. The search continued late Friday night, but high river conditions impeded the search efforts. They continued searching on Saturday, but on Sunday officials said the search was concluded and both men are presumed drowned.

CCSO warned anyone going to the river to be extremely cautious, as water levels are high and the currents are fast. They also said Austin Hot Springs is private property and not open for public use.

3. Oregon firefighters already preparing for wildfire season

Oregon’s wildfire season is on the horizon and firefighters are encouraging everyone to have a wildfire plan. Departments like Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue are already doing what they can to fight wildfires this year.

“We have to be ready, whether it’s fast moving fires, and fine fuels or small fuels on the ground, or if it’s getting into a more dense forested area, we are investing in that by doing training right now,” Stefan Myers, with TVF&R, said.

Fire crews are encouraging everyone to protect their homes and communities. Over the weekend, Portland Fire & Rescue and the Office of the State Fire Marshal held a special event at the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum to help educate the public.

“With the drought conditions we’ve been seeing and the change in the fire behavior in the Portland area is very much, you know, at risk for a possible wildfire to start,” Kim Kosmas, with PF&R, said. “And if it did - when and if it does happen - it can be very catastrophic.”

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