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.