PORTLAND – A Southwest Portland school was locked down as a precaution Wednesday morning after cougar sightings were reported in the neighborhood.
The cougar was described as quite large and it was spotted just before 9 a.m. near Pendleton Park, at 6030 Southwest 55th Drive, in the Hayhurst neighborhood.
Several officers searched the area and spoke to some neighbors, including one who said the cougar had been in the area the past few days.
Staff members at Hayhurst Elementary School, which is adjacent to Pendleton Park, were alerted of the cougar sighting by police. The school lockdown was lifted about 45 minutes later, after officers found no sign of the animal.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife also shared these tips for anyone who may encounter a wild cougar:
- STOP - Never approach a cougar at any time for any reason.
- STAY CALM - Face the cougar and do not turn your back towards it. Do not run. Running encourages it to chase.
- APPEAR LARGE - Make yourself look large. Do not bend over or crouch down. Raise your hands. Hold your coat open. Hold small children.
- FIGHT BACK - Fight back if attacked.
- MAKE NOISE - Make noise while hiking to reduce the chance of surprising a cougar.
- KEEP CHILDREN CLOSE - Always keep children close by and in sight.
- AVOID WALKING ALONE