Cougar sightings on the rise in Southwest Portland
There have been multiple cougar sightings on the Lewis & Clark campus in Southwest Portland during the past few weeks, campus officials said.
A notice went out to the Lewis & Clark community alerting them to the sightings. It said that earlier this week there was a possible sighting on the undergraduate campus.
The college didn't say whether any of the sightings were caught on camera. They urged anyone who sees a cougar on campus to call Campus Safety at 503-768-7777.
Last month, surveillance cameras captured a cougar walking on home property in the Dunthorpe neighborhood one night not far from the Lewis & Clark campus. It looked as though the cougar came from Tryon Creek State Natural Area.
A cougar was then seen in that area two days later by a Wilson High School cross-country runner, who were running along a trail. He reported the sighting to park rangers.
Park staff said they are keeping a close eye on kids and making sure they travel in groups. Visitors should always keep pets on leashes.
Tryon Creek Park Manager Iris Branson said the cougar spotted in Dunthorpe is probably the same one seen by the runners.
"It's likely the same cat. It seems like a large, healthy adult," Branson said. "That's good — doesn't mean it's struggling or injured, so it's keeping a good distance from people."
Tryon Creek State Natural Area is Oregon's only state park within a major metropolitan area, about 15 minutes from downtown Portland. The park is known to have deer — which are on the menu for cougars.
A cougar — possibly the same one — was spotted in June near Hallinan Elementary School in Lake Oswego. Dirk Lowe called police officers after the cat ran in front of his car, then leaped over a fence.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said if you come across a cougar, stay calm, make eye contact, back away slowly, carefully pick up any children, don't run and, if the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look bigger.
If the cougar attacks — which officials said is unlikely — fight back with rocks, sticks or any other tool handy.
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