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College alerts staff and students, but the cat moved on, officials say it is likely not a threat

COURTESY PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, IPUSER - State officials say the cougar spotted near Mt. Hood Community College likely does not pose a threat. A cougar was spotted near the campus of Mt. Hood Community College on Monday morning, but wildlife officials said people should not be worried about an attack on humans.

A Metro regional government crew worker doing weed control near Beaver Creek spotted the cougar around 9 a.m. Monday, May 14.

As soon as the cougar saw the workers, it jumped over the creek and went out of sight, said Doug Kitchen, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife assistant district wildlife biologist.

"We want people to be aware of it," Kitchen said.

The big cat does not seem to pose a threat since it ran off as soon as workers came upon it, he added, and there have been no signs of attacks on pets or livestock in the area.

Administrators from MHCC, at 26000 S.E. Stark St., Gresham, sent texts and email to all students, faculty and staff informing them of the sighting and an email with safety tips.

Noting there have been other area cougar sightings in the past, Kitchen said most cougars spotted are young males looking for their own territory and easy prey.

"When they see people, they might sit and watch a while," he said, or will likely just take off.

If you see a cougar, don't run because it triggers a chase response in the animal. Kitchen said if you see a cougar and feel frightened, call 911. Otherwise, report the sighting to ODF so the agency can track when and where the animals are spotted.

Attacks by cougars are rare, but a Gresham woman was killed by an adult female cougar in September 2018 while hiking in the Mt. Hood National Forest near Rhododendron. It was the first fatal cougar attack recorded in Oregon.

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