Search and rescue

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Last week, Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) Forest Deputy Scott Griffith responded to the Brown’s Camp area of the Tillamook State Forest, searching for an overdue motorist. A 17-year-old teenage boy had been camping with friends and had left late in the evening to drive home to the Oregon City area. The teen was unfamiliar with the area when he set off in the dark, driving alone, and never arrived home.

“TCSO SAR Deputies arrived and began searching the OHV areas and forest road systems. We located the teen’s truck disabled and stuck in tank-trap that was blocking the entrance to a road,” said Deputy Griffith. “The teen was located near the truck, unharmed, and with the help of the teen’s friends that were still camping in the area, and the use of equipment provided by SAR members, the truck was successfully recovered.”

As summer approaches, more and more visitors are coming to the Tillamook State Forest, and that means more search and rescues and calls for service for TCSO and the sheriff’s office’s search and rescue (SAR) team. Since January 2020, there have been 150 missing persons and SAR calls in Tillamook County.

Deputy Griffith has some advice for those planning a visit to our forested areas: “It’s a good idea to go with a friend, or a group of people. Let someone at home know what your plans or itinerary are and when you should be back home, or at least in cell range.”

Also:

- Take or download a map of the area Tillamook State Forest, an Oregon State Forest located near Cornelius, Forest Grove and Hillsboro (stateparks.com)

- Have your cell phone fully charged and the ability to charge it off your vehicle. Although cell service is not available in much of the Tillamook Forest, sometimes a text can get through.

- The GPS on most cell phones will work even without cell coverage and many map apps do too.

- Be aware of when sunset is, and realize that the forest looks completely different in the dark

- If you do get lost or your vehicle is stuck or disabled, stay with the vehicle as it provides shelter and is much easier to locate as we check trails and roads first when searching for someone.

TCSO SAR is looking for volunteers. If you are interested, or would like to apply, please visit www.tillamooksheriff.com

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