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You'll never have to pay for a tow truck again if you get stuck in a ditch statewide

COURTESY PHOTO - OffRoad Recovery Portal volunteer Erick Flowers pulls with his Toyota 4Runner a heavy Dodge Ram 2500.If your car slips into a ditch or you COURTESY PHOTO - Tyler Funk goes through heavy snow near Ollalie Lake in his Toyota Tacoma on the way to help someone requesting assistance via Off Road Recovery Portal.get stuck in the snow, you no longer have to pay hundreds of dollars to a towing company to get back on the road in Oregon.

A group of thousands of volunteers has formed as Offroad Recovery Portal to help people when stranded throughout the Pacific Northwest. One of the founders of the group, Al Fontan, said Oregon's off-road community wanted to unite a few years ago for a common good. Fontan estimates Offroad Recovery Portal is helping hundreds of people every winter, and the service is looking to expand in Oregon and other states throughout the U.S.

"It's always bad to get stuck, but we enjoy being that person who comes over the hill and provides relief to a stranded family," Fontan said.

Offroad Recovery Portal now has a website where stranded people can make recovery requests. To use the website, you accept terms and conditions indemnifying volunteers in case of mishap and then allow the app to locate your device, which sends GPS coordinates to potential rescuers.

Volunteer rescuers are organized into local chapters and teams to coordinate recoveries in various locations throughout the Northwest.

If you're stranded in a location without cell phone service, you can use a digital ham radio or a Garmin satellite communicator to send a text including your GPS coordinates requesting a rescue. Rural, publicly owned areas are the primary target for Offroad Recovery Portal, since state law prohibits volunteers from performing rescues on roads within city limits. Rescuers can help you if you're stuck on private property, however, as long as it's your property or you have permission to be there.

Pamplin Media Group Webmaster Al Fontan, who volunteers with the group as a rescuer and technology specialist, has recommendations to help prevent tragedies.

"Bring plenty of water and don't go alone if you're heading out into the woods or snowy conditions," Fontan said. "I always have a week's worth of food and water in my Jeep."

Offroad Recovery Portal strives to help educate the public how to be prepared when traveling with blog posts on topics like what gear to bring and how to safely winch. Regular hands-on training sessions throughout the state are planned.

COURTESY PHOTO - After this simple beach winch out, Off Road Recovery Portal reminded everyone to reduce the air pressure in your tires to avoid getting stuck in sand.

Offroad Recovery Portal

What: A website to call on the help of volunteer rescuers

Online: OffroadPortal.org

Outside of cell phone range: Send a text requesting a rescue including your GPS coordinates to 503-877-5263

Sponsors: Pamplin Media Group, Warn Industries, 4 Wheel Parts.


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