Water rescuers already worried for summer season due to heavy Po - KPTV - FOX 12

Water rescuers already worried for summer season due to heavy Portland rainfall

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High Rocks Park in Gladstone on Wednesday. (KPTV) High Rocks Park in Gladstone on Wednesday. (KPTV)

Water rescuers and dive teams across the Portland area are already worried about what they may be facing this summer, thanks to all the rain and snow we’ve had this season.

At High Rocks Park in Gladstone on Wednesday, the Clackamas River was running very high and very fast.

That’s exactly what worries rescuers, who expect swimmers to flock to the river once it starts to warm up.

“In a typical year, we’re coming out here about 10 times,” said Gladstone Fire Lt. Kirk Stempel. “We think it’s going to at least double or triple this year.”

The popular swimming hole is already notoriously dangerous, with a swift underwater current and rocks and debris hidden under the water.

But this year, those dangers will be magnified.

That’s why Stempel and other members of the Clackamas County Water Rescue Consortium are working on a special public service announcement to warn people about the hazards. They hope to have it finished by June 1.

“Our concern is it's going to warm up, people are going to try and take advantage of the water and it’s kind of scary,” Stempel added.

Just last year, a 21-year-old man drowned at High Rocks and several others died over the summer after swimming in other local waterways.

Rescuers hope this year more than most that people realize the dangers before they ever get in.

“Water’s a pretty dangerous thing,” said Jack Wright, who lives near High Rocks. “I mean we used to live in Florida and that was the number one thing we were taught as kids is you don’t mess around with water.”

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