Outdoors blog

Officials kill bear swept into Columbia Dam

A black bear swept into The Dalles Dam by the strong Columbia River current on April 11, 2011, had to be killed by dam workers after it crawled onto a spillway gate with no place else to go. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
A black bear swept into The Dalles Dam by the strong Columbia River current on April 11, 2011, had to be killed by dam workers after it crawled onto a spillway gate with no place else to go. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

WILDLIFE -- A black bear that for some reason was swimming on the Columbia River near The Dalles Dam crawled out of the current onto a spillway get on Monday and suddenly had no safe exit in either direction.

Upstream, the current coming into the spillway gate is swift and dangerous.

Downstream, the bruin faced a 75 foot drop to concrete.

See more photos of the bear's predicament.

Dam employees eventually determined they had no choice to but to have Oregon Fish and Wildlife enforcement officers shoot the bear, since there was no safe way to rescue it.

U.S. Corps of Engineers and and ODFW biologists do not know how the bear found its way onto the gate. The Columbia River at The Dalles is running high and fast – about 296,000 cubic feet per second on April 12 – and the dam is spilling about 40 percent of the total river flow through the spillway bays to accommodate adult and juvenile salmon passage.




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Rich Landers


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