PORTLAND -- Rumors are swirling over whether some residents are leaving food out for coyotes in Northeast Portland, causing an increase in sightings and problems associated with the wild animals in the city.
Residents in the Alameda neighborhood have reported seeing at least one coyote that is unafraid of people or large pets.
"He like tenses up and he's like 'Grrr' and I'm like 'What in the world is going on?' and I look across the street and there's a coyote," explains Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, describing an encounter between his dog and the coyote.
Cogen is one of many Northeast residents to spot the animal. He first saw it while on a walk with his dog Chester and then again right outside his own door.
Coyotes in Alameda are not uncommon. Wildlife expert Bob Sallinger of the Audubon Society of Portland said coyotes have roamed the area for several years.
Sallinger added that he has seen a number of reports of deliberate feeding of coyotes and he wanted to warn people that this is the "single biggest cause of coyote conflicts." He said it causes wild animals to lose their natural fear of humans and eventually the coyotes may have to be relocated or destroyed.
He wanted to warn area residents to spread the word that even if people aren't deliberately feeding coyotes, neighbors should be sure to remove all outdoor food sources, including accessble garbage cans, downed fruit, compost bins and pet food.
Background: Fearless coyotes worry NE residents
"Don't approach him. Don't follow him. When you see him, scare him off. Bites of humans are incredibly rare. But the situations when it does happen is when they're showing a lack of fear of humans," he added.