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LAKE OSWEGO The thick mud exposed when workers drained part of Oswego Lake earlier this month has the potential to be quite dangerous, according to rescue crews.

The lake was partially drained so sewer workers could access and rebuild old sewer pipes.

Background: Oswego Lake drained for sewer project

But recently, an unexpected problem developed: Parts of the exposed lakebed have apparently become somewhat like quicksand.

A young deer got stuck in the mud near Greenbrier Road. The animal was able to free itself after struggling over 40 minutes, said Deputy Fire Marshal Gert Zoutendijk. Another incident we heard about happened when a worker was walking on the interceptor pipe, slipped and fell, sinking him to his chest in the mud.

The worker called for help and people nearby managed to pull him out, but Zoutendijk worries other people may not be so lucky.

Photos:Deer stuck in mud

The mud looks stable from the shore, but when people get out on the lake, there is a large potential that the mud will give way and the person sinks, said Deputy Fire Marshal Gert Zoutendijk. This hazard is something that will put the rescuers at risk trying to attempt to rescue any victims.

Some firefighters in the area have said they ve watched curious children wade into the mud, too. But when they started to sink, they were able to get out on their own. So far, there have been no reports of life-threatening incidents involving the mud, but some worry it s only a matter of time.

The lake has not been down this low in many years and attracts numerous people, and some are trying to explore the lake, causing concerns to emergency responders, Zoutendijk said.

That s why the Lake Oswego Fire Department has scheduled special training for firefighters, next week, on how to rescue people trapped in mud.

For their part, organizers of the sewer project have fenced off all major access points and plan to post warning signs.

Safety is our most important concern. Those who explore the lakebed are not always aware of the dangers, including very soft mud, water holes, and broken glass, added Jane Heisler, information director for the sewer project.

She added that the lakebed is actually private property and people who enter it are trespassing.

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