Police get multiple reports of cougar in busy Portland intersection

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Police responded early Sunday morning to two reports of a cougar sighting in Southeast Portland.

According to authorities, two callers said they had spotted a full-size cougar near Southeast Division Street and 121st Avenue. The callers reported seeing the animal heading north across Division and into the neighborhood.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) officials told KATU on Sunday that it was possible a cougar could have wandered into the area from any nearby green space like a park or wooded area. Officials also said a full-sized cougar can be 120 pounds or more.

KATU talked to several residents but no one saw a cougar or heard any noise - like their dogs barking - around the time police received the 911 calls.

"That's definitely scary, especially since I leave my dog out sometimes and the kids are running out," neighbor Cesar Pacheco said.

"Where did he come from?" neighbor Roberta Kelly wondered. "It's really scary."

Several officers checked the area but did not locate the cougar.

One neighbor suspected the cougar could have been a coyote but didn't rule out other wildlife.

"I kind of thought maybe it was a mis-sighting cause we do have coyotes around here that we've seen many, many times," Greg Schwindt said. "But you never know. There's a lot of wildlife in the surrounding hills that people are building houses on and ... the animals have no where to go."

KATU also spoke with employees at Burger King, which sits directly across the street from the area where the cougar was spotted. The fast food chain has a 24-hour drive through but the employees that worked the night shift were not available to speak with and a supervisor was not available to access surveillance tapes.

Anyone seeing a cougar should not approach it and should immediately call 9-1-1.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife advises the following if you encounter a cougar:

STOP - Never approach a cougar at any time for any reason.

STAY CALM - Face the cougar and do not turn your back towards it. Do not run. Running encourages it to chase.

APPEAR LARGE - Make yourself look large. Do not bend over or crouch down. Raise your hands. Hold your coat open. Hold small children.

FIGHT BACK - Fight back if attacked.

MAKE NOISE - Make noise while hiking to reduce the chance of surprising a cougar.

KEEP CHILDREN CLOSE - Always keep children close by and in sight.

AVOID WALKING ALONE - While there have been no other reported cougar sightings, the Portland Police Bureau would like community members to be aware of the possible sighting and encourages anyone seeing a cougar not to approach it but to immediately call 9-1-1.