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Jackson Bottom trails closed again after cougar sighting

Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Department staff closed the trails at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve this morning following a second reported cougar sighting. by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: KATHY FULLER - A sign June 27 at the entrance to Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve warned of closed trails due to a cougar sighting in the area. The closure signs have since been replaced by warning signs and trails have reopened.

City of Hillsboro employees are investigating the reported sighting and have asked the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for assistance.

At approximately 8:30 a.m., Hillsboro Parks & Recreation staff received a phone call alerting employees to a sighting on the north side of the preserve, adjacent to a residential neighborhood.

A homeowner reported seeing a cougar from inside her home, then observed the animal leave on its own. She described seeing the animal in a tree, roughly the size of her Golden Retriever, with a long tail. The homeowner did not report any aggressive behavior.

Hillsboro Police Department officers are notifying neighbors to be aware of their surroundings. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife provides helpful information on its website (see link below).

This is the second reported cougar sighting in the area in four days.

Parks & Recreation staff received a phone call on Monday from a trail user who reported seeing a cougar on the east side of the preserve. As was the case this morning, staff made the decision on Monday to close the trails in order to investigate the reported sighting, but staff did not observe any signs to confirm the animal’s presence.

“The safety of our residents and visitors remains our top priority” said Wayne Gross, Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Director. “Our decision to close the trails is part of our continued careful approach to ensure that we have done everything possible to protect our recreation users.”

Find more information at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/cougars.asp.