Cougar sightings in Happy Valley put residents on high alert

HAPPY VALLEY, Ore. - School officials at Happy Valley Preschool put the school into lockdown as a precaution Wednesday afternoon when someone reported seeing a cougar in a nearby tree.

It would be the first of two afternoon cougar sightings.

The cougar was first reportedly seen in a tree on Southeast Ridgecrest Road near 132nd Avenue, according to the Clackamas Fire District.

The owner of a field on Ridgecrest Road heard rustling in a grove of cedar trees on the edge of the field and said he saw a cougar fall or jump down from one of the trees. He called authorities.

Officials from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife came out and searched the property but couldn't find the cougar.

Meanwhile, another report of a cougar near Happy Valley Elementary School came in. The school is not far from the first cougar sighting.

A city spokesperson told KATU that a student who was being picked up told his mother that he saw a cougar outside.

Sgt. Nate Thompson with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said deputies and ODFW officials are keeping each other informed on what is happening.

He said deputies have not yet seen the cougar, but he said there are deputies and police officers with the Happy Valley Police Department in the area keeping an eye out for it.

If someone does see a cougar, Thompson said most sightings can be handled through the non-emergency number. The non-emergency number is (503) 655-8211. He suggested that if people can keep an eye on the cougar they should try and let them know which direction it is going.

If there is a safety issue or an emergency, then he said people should call 911.

At Happy Valley Preschool, parents are picking up their children on the normal schedule, but all children are being kept inside until school closes at 6 p.m. Officials decided to put the school into lockdown just as a precaution.

KATU's Hillary Lake contributed to this report.