Damascus

Fallen tree trapping rafts on Clackamas River

Fallen tree trapping rafts on Clackamas River »Play Video
This photo taken from KATU helicopter Jet Ranger 2 shows a small raft snagged in the tree across the Clackamas River.

DAMASCUS, Ore. – A fallen tree is creating a dangerous situation for rafters on the Clackamas River.

A KATU viewer told us about the fallen tree that already caused one swimmer to need rescuing.

The tree is lying across the river near where Highway 224 meets Southeast Tong Road. Neighbors said it fell during the winter.

The sheriff’s office is working with the State Marine Board to get heavy equipment to the scene so crews can remove the tree, but they said that may take a while.

Most people on the river don’t wear life jackets, and even if they do it might not be enough to keep the log from taking them down. Nate Thompson with Clackamas County Marine Patrol says rafters need to be extra careful.

“Current like this, water this strong, there is a likelihood that this is strong enough to even hold somebody wearing a life jacket under if they get trapped underneath this log,” said Thompson.

Deputies say rafters are trapped daily by the fallen tree. There are signs on the river warning rafters to stay left to avoid the danger.

Thompson said in order to safely navigate the river you should use a raft or a kayak. Not a tube or pool toy.

“Most people we see out here are trying to navigate down this river in an inner tube, just by using their hands as paddles,” said Thompson. “It’s just not going to work for what we need out here, especially when you’re dealing with hazards like this.”

We heard about this story from a KATU news tip. If you see news happening where you are, send us an email to newstips@katu.com.