Consider this a warning: A black bear is roaming around the northwest hills.
According to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, they’ve received at least three separate black bear sightings. A public notice released Friday listed NW 53rd, Leif Erikson Road, and Upper Saltzman/Fire Lane 5 as the places where the sightings were made.
“While bears in Forest Park are not unheard of, it is unique to have this many sightings over a short period of time,” said ODFW, who continues to track the case. Apparently the ecology of Forest Park is hospitable to black bears.
KGW reports that there are an estimated 25 to 30 thousand black bears across Oregon: “Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said there have only been five reported black bear sightings in the city of Portland, Forest Park included, in the last three years. With four of those five this month.”
Portland Parks and Recreation is also posting this caution sign (above) online and at park entrances:
Who remembers in 2015 when someone’s okapi got loose and roamed through the park? I saw it chillin’ up on Leif, but I’ve yet to see the bear.
If you see it, here’s what you should do (according to REI):
Stand your ground; don’t “play dead” with a black bear. Don’t run. Having your bike between you and the bear is still the best idea and can serve as a last line of defense. If the bear approaches, shout, make noise, stand tall, throw small rocks.
If you survive the encounter, please report your sighting to the ODFW Sauvie Island Office (503) 621-3488.
Bears are an increasing occurrence in suburbia. I saw recent reports from Bend and Florence. Also, an uptick in “lost dog” signs on telephone poles.
I’ve had 2 “encounters” with black bears while road riding in Oregon. One was several years ago just outside Silver Falls SP while on the Petal Pedal route, and one was last year in the Blue Mountains while riding the Blue Mountain Century Scenic Bikeway. in both instances the bear crossed the road in front of me and gave no indication of caring about me one way or another. I felt priviledged to have the experience, and while it definitely got my heart rate up, I never felt threatened. Bears really don’t want anything to do with us, but it’s good to know our local forests sustain them.
That’s wild that a black bear was spotted. I’d expect a leopard or giraffe to be spotted, but never a bear.
Thanks for the heads-up.
Side note — is that an okapi? I didn’t think they had long horns. Oryx, perhaps?
Nice work, scimitar horned oryx to be specific.
Pack that bear spray!
A few years back we inadvertently treed a small bear or cub while riding in the Siuslaw west of Eugene. Stood there and marveled at the wonder of it, until it occurred to us that it would be advisable to move along, as a protective mama bear might be about…
A recent paper in PLoS One says “black bears are primed to thrive in the urban-wildland interface, as rural and suburban development creates more edge habitat”. Forest Park is in many ways an ideal environment for black bears, being a second-growth forest close to human food sources (trash, compost, bird feed, etc.) and with plenty of non-native blackberries. Expect more bear sightings in the future as the exurbs expand and force native wildlife species to adapt.
They just clear cut the forest to the north. Black bears suddenly appear in Forest park. Hmmm.
“If you survive the encounter, please report your sighting to the ODFW Sauvie Island Office.” If not, bon appétit to the bear!