Search and rescue calls on the rise in Multnomah County as officials seek new recruits

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 4:40 PM PDT
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MULTNOMAH COUNTY Ore. (KPTV) - According to a press release from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, 2022 is being seen as one of the busiest for local search and rescue crews.

Officials say it’s busier than any other year since the Eagle Creek Fire, adding that now its volunteer team is looking for help.

The office says in 2022, MCSO has responded to:

  • 18 SAR activations in Multnomah County;
  • 14 SAR activations in the Columbia River Gorge, including 11 SAR activations since May and 5 SAR activations in August. Two SAR activations involved responding to fatal falls.

The search and rescue team says many people going onto trails aren’t prepared and that oftentimes they get lost or become disoriented.

FOX 12 spoke with a volunteer who says she’s been helping for almost a decade, “we are trained in a wide variety of things including medical survival and navigation,” said Mika Steyskel.

According to officials with the team, they believe more people are out now than they were before.

“Prior to the Eagle Creek fire, we saw a very high visitation rate to the Columbia River Gorge, and high search and rescue calls, well that when a way for a number of years and now were starting to see those numbers climb back up as the gorge re-opens,” Search and Rescue Coordinator Sergeant Brian Gerkman said.

As of now, MCSOSAR is looking to gather more volunteers as these calls increase, asking that anyone interested who is over the age of 14 sign up.

An orientation meeting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the MCSO training building, 3083 NE 170th Pl., Portland, OR 97230.

In addition, it’s also asking the community to be safe and prepared when heading out to explore.