July 14, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Bear spotted near 31st and Willamette

3 min read
Be observant and keep children and pets close when recreating in Eugene's natural areas where bears and cougars reside.  

from Linda Duggan, Eugene Police Department, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

A bear was spotted June 11 in the area of 31st Avenue and Willamette, reportedly jumping into a backyard and being treed by a dog.

I don’t mind our deer visitors in our backyard (actually like them visiting), but I sure don’t want to encounter a bear!

Years ago, a friend at the end of West Amazon had a cougar in her backyard when she and her son were outside. They slowly backed into their house. 

It was probably the same one that hung out when the French Immersion School was located on Mahalo Street while our son went there. There were sightings on the field. 

This is a good reminder for people in South Eugene to be observant and keep their children and pets close when recreating in Eugene’s many natural areas, especially those close to forested and rural areas where bears and cougars reside.  People should always be respectful of the fact that all wildlife is in fact “wild” and should be given a wide berth. 

In their ongoing search for food, bears will sometimes come into yards, campsites and even rural or more urban communities looking for easy pickings – food scraps, garbage, pet food or bird feeders.

Once bears learn they can find food near homes or campgrounds, they may lose their fear of humans and become a threat to human safety. When this happens, most often the bear must be humanely killed. Here are some BearWise tips for discouraging bears from dining at your house:

  • Never feed or approach bears. Intentionally feeding bears or allowing them to find anything that smells or tastes like food teaches bears to approach homes and people looking for more. Bears will defend themselves if a person gets too close, so don’t risk your safety and theirs!
  • Secure food, garbage and recycling. Food and odors attract bears, so don’t reward them with easily available food, liquids or garbage.
  • Remove bird feeders when bears are active. Birdseed and grains have a lot of calories, so they’re very attractive to bears. Removing feeders is the best way to avoid creating conflicts with bears.
  • Never leave pet food outdoors. Feed pets indoors when possible. If you must feed pets outside, feed in single portions and remove food and bowls after feeding. Store pet food where bears can’t see or smell it.
  • Clean and store grills. Clean grills after each use and make sure that all of the grease, fat and food particles are removed. Store clean grills and smokers in a secure area that keeps bears out.
  • Alert neighbors to bear activity. See bears in the area or evidence of bear activity? Tell your neighbors and share information on how to avoid bear conflicts. Bears have adapted to living near people; now it’s up to us to adapt to living near bears.

Bears are native to Oregon and do not normally pose a problem when they are on the fringe of town. Unless a bear is presenting an immediate danger of attacking or has been hit by a vehicle, please do not call 911. 

For more information about bears and other wildlife, please contact Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Years ago, a cougar was seen around Lane Community College and last January, a cougar was reported at Spencer Butte.  Add turkeys, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and birds, and we share our area with lots of wildlife. Hope we can all get along.

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