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More Travelers Getting Stranded Across Oregon This Year

Corvallis Mountain Rescue

Oregon rescue crews are seeing an uptick in lost or stranded travelers this year. An official has tips on how to keep safe if you have to venture out.

Scott Lucas is the state search and rescue coordinator for Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management.  He said this year, calls for help have jumped around 15 to 20 percent from 2019. Many drivers have relied on technology such as GPS to guide their route. Lucas says this can have pitfalls, especially during bad winter weather.

Credit Oregon Office of Emergency Management
A Coast Guard helicopter finds a stranded traveler in Lane County, 2019.

“They just blindly follow their GPS and they don’t realize the roads aren’t taken care of 365 days, they’re not plowed," Lucas told KLCC.  "And they don’t know the difference until they’re stranded.”

A driver in Linn County was led astray onto a hazardous route by their GPS this year. He was rescued by the Coast Guard.

Lucas says calling 511 and using Tripcheck.com are reliable ways to keep aware of road conditions. He also recommends packing survival kits with food, water, blankets, and other vital needs.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.