Oregonians See Rise In Black Bear Sightings In Populated Areas

May 22, 2020

A state wildlife official says bear sightings are seeing a definite uptick lately, all across Oregon.

Black bear.
Credit USFS Pacific Northwest / Flickr.com

If you’ve been seeing or hearing about bears venturing into neighborhoods more frequently lately, you’re not alone.

“We’ve been seeing increased nuisance bear activity not just in Springfield-Eugene…Ashland’s been overrun, and the coast range has had its fair share of issues with bears as well,” says Christopher Yee. 

Black bear in the woods, foraging for berries.
Credit USFS Northern Region / Flickr.com

As a district wildlife biologist with the the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Springfield Office, Yee says a poor fall has left bears hungry and foraging for food sources. That draws them to garbage cans, compost bins, bird feeders, and pet food left outside. 

Even cars.

“Make sure all food wrappers are out of the vehicle, hand lotions," advises Yee. 

"We’ve had several cars that were totaled by bears over the years. So it’s a real thing.”

Yee says restricting bears’ access to food is a community-wide effort. If the bear gets too used to humans, it can create a life-threatening situation that will likely end in the animal being put down.

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