PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Parks & Recreation is installing warning signs in Forest Park after multiple black bear sightings were reported in the area this past week. The latest encounter was Thursday evening on the Leif Erikson Germantown Trail Head.
"I was going for a run in Forest Park after work and I was on the Leif Erikson trail, had just passed the 3 mile mark and I looked up ahead... I saw a large dark figure," said Kristin Shaw. "And I recognized it was a bear!"
Shaw said the bear she ran into was the exact same bear from a video capture by another person near Northwest 53rd Drive last week.
"That was my bear, I recognized him! That was his gait, that was his size!," she said.
There are an estimate 25 to 30 thousand black bears across Oregon. Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said there have only been five reported black bear sightings in the city of Portland, Forest Park included, in the last three years. With four of those five this month.
"If it's the same bear, which it probably is, but it's gotten into some unsecured garbage. It's gotten into some beehives," said Steve Niemela with ODFW.
KGW reached out to another Forest Park neighbor, Joe Clark, whose home camera also captured a black bear wandering around his backyard near Northwest Skyline Boulevard and Saltzman Road. Clark said he has seen four different bears this year alone, as well as mountain lions.
ODFW has requested for warning signs to go up in Forest Park to remind people not to run, avoid eye contact, appear large and make a lot of noise, which is what Shaw did.
"I stopped and I stood a bit wide and he considered me, I considered, him, but he didn't charge so then I calmed down," said Shaw. "I put my arms out and wide and said, 'Bear Get Away!"
Niemela said he is unsure exactly how many bears there are in Forest Park.
"While bears in Forest Park are not unheard of, ODFW says is unique to have this many sightings over a short period of time," said Mark Ross with Portland Parks & Recreation. "The ecology of Forest Park is hospitable to them."
If anyone encounters a bear, they are asked to call the ODFW Sauvie Island Office at 503-621-3488.