Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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Public safety personnel should not be held accountable for injuries, or even deaths, associated with climbing accidents on Mount Hood.

The courts will have the final say on a lawsuit brought against Clackamas County, claiming that the county didn't respond fast enough to save a climber who was clinging to life after a fall on Mount Hood in May 2017.

The lawsuit filed by the family of John Thornton of Seattle, the man who died in the climbing accident, seeks $10 million in damages.

From our vantage point, we hope this lawsuit fails.

There is risk that accompanies any extreme sport, whether bungee jumping, parachuting or scaling the tallest snow-and-ice covered peak in Oregon in the spring. These thrill seekers accept the inherent dangers as part of the experience, but they should also accept the inevitability that things will go wrong, or in this case, become catastrophic.

No doubt there is an untold number of people who have survived to tell their stories only because of the heroic paid and volunteer rescue personnel who willingly put themselves at risk to pull these people out of dangerous situations of their own making.

While we can be saddened for the loss this family has endured, we cannot blame any one person or agency for his death.


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