Oregon Police Track Down Bear at School

June 2, 2011
Oregon Police Track Down Bear at Elementary School


Sure, a snow day at schools in the Portland metro area is rare, but a bear day? That might be a first.

Tualatin police said someone walking by Tualatin Elementary School spotted a 4-year-old black bear this morning and called 911, starting a standoff between the bear and police that lasted more than seven hours.

Students at Tualatin Elementary School watched the spectacle unfold from inside their classrooms.

"It was really cool to me and it was really cool when we got to see it live out in the field," said Emma Croft, a Tualatin Elementary student.

"The people were on the shed with the tranquilizer guns and he jumped the fence and ran by three or four motorcycle (cops)," said Jordyn Koehler, another Tualatin student.

The bear wandered in fields near the school and just a few hundred feet from the school's playground.

Meanwhile, police, sheriff's deputies and wildlife experts surrounded the bear from every angle.

A four-man team trying to shoot the bear with a tranquilizer was unsuccessful in the first two efforts, and the bear ran across the street to a nearby neighborhood.

It ended up in a tree on Maria O'Connor's property.

"I was more shocked than anything," O'Connor said.

That's when wildlife experts made their move and shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart.

A crowd gathered as firefighters who specialize in rope rescues brought the bear safely down to the ground.

Neighbors say an encounter with a black bear was the last thing they expected in the heart of suburbia.

"What's very surprising is this isn't country. This is very much right in Tualatin," says Kitty Ferrasci-O'Malley.

Wildlife experts say the bear will be released back into the wild somewhere in the Oregon Coast Range.

Copyright 2011 by KPTV.com. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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