Cougar spotted in SE Portland, several warning signs posted

(KPTV Image)

A cougar was spotted Sunday at Powell Butte Nature Park, according to Portland Parks and Recreation.

Several warning signs are posted at the large park in southeast Portland.

Hikers are encouraged to hike in groups or pairs, and keep children and pets close.

A park employee told FOX 12 a man reported that the cougar ran across the Summit Lane trail in front of him Sunday morning.

The department has only received that one sighting report.

Jackson Burt, 6, was hiking at the park with his father on Thursday afternoon.

He said his dad discussed with him what to do if they spot a cougar, and his father kept him close during the hike.

“(He told me to) stay in front of him, not 12 feet behind, and always stay in front,” Burt said.

Several hikers stopped to read the warning poster before heading up the trailhead.

“Oh my gosh, that would scare me,” Karin Richardson said about the possibility of seeing a cougar during a walk. “I had no idea there was a cougar around here, that’s not that long ago.”

A former parks employee and retired ecologist were leading a nature hike at Powell Butte Thursday afternoon.

“Typically, these are young animals that don’t have an established territory, so they’re mobile, and I’d be surprised if there’s any reports after two weeks,” Mart Hughes said.

Hughes said he spent more than 15 years working at the park and only remembers one report of a cougar sometime in the early 2000’s.

Wildlife experts said cougars are typically afraid of humans and sightings in urban areas are rare.

If you ever find yourself up close to the big cat, you’ll want to stop, stay calm and make yourself as large as possible. Wave your arms, act aggressive and yell. If a cougar attacks, fight back.

Some hikers said they couldn’t help but think of the recent cougar attack in Washington. One man was killed and another was hurt. It was an incredibly rare tragedy, there’s only been one other deadly cougar attack involving a person in Washington.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said no human has ever been killed by a cougar in Oregon.

Portland Parks and Recreation said ODFW was notified about the cougar.

Area neighbors should feed pets indoors and keep them inside overnight, just in case, according to ODFW.

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