Bear sightings reported near Tribal Cemetery

By Danielle Frost

After a report of a large black bear seen multiple times wandering at Grand Ronde Road near the Tribal cemetery, the Natural Resources Department is asking any future sightings be reported immediately.

“The bears are about to go into hibernation so they are probably desperate for food and foraging for anything they can find,” Fish & Wildlife Program Manager Kelly Dirksen said. “They are trying to put on weight before taking the long nap.”

He added that the more sightings that are reported, the more likely the state Department of Fish & Wildlife will be to remove the bear.

“There isn’t a ton we can do,” Dirksen said. “If the bear is a threat to human safety, law enforcement can take it out. If it’s a threat to wildlife or pets, then the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is responsible. … If we can document habitual sightings, then we can compel the state to trap it.”

Dirksen said that although the threat to human safety is typically very low, anyone who sees a bear should take precautions.

“If you see a bear, leave the area,” Dirksen said. “Get kids and pets out of the way and safe. To keep bears away, secure your garbage or anything else that would tempt them to hang around. They’re trying to top off their fuel reserves, so they’re scrounging around for anything. But we’re expecting them to go into hibernation soon.”

If you see a bear locally, call the Tribe’s Natural Resources Department at 503-879-2424.