Maintenance worker comes face-to-face with cougar, second sighting in a month

Picture of a cougar on a flyer posted around a private condominium complex of 153rd Ave. (KATU)

Neighbors are on high alert after another cougar was spotted lurking near homes by Powell Butte Nature Park in Southeast Portland. It was spotted Friday night at a condominium complex off of 153rd Avenue.

Tucked behind the condos is a little oasis, where birds and small animals like to drink out of the pond, and roam on occasion. Neighbors are used to seeing wildlife, but not ones they have to be cautious around.

Dave Knight was putting away equipment when he says he saw a cougar on the pathway between the pool and the shed.

"I went to grab a key and i heard a little growl and I shined a light to the left and there was this cat laying down about 10 feet away," said Knight. "I grabbed a pitchfork just in case but they really don't attack you unless you attack them."

He said it stared right at him, but didn't move. Knight walked back to his car unharmed, and texted Sheryl Davidson, the HOA chairman.

"I didn't think he was serious. I texted him back saying, 'are you serious or are you playing with me?' He goes, 'no, he's in the pathway. He's small he's about a 40, 50 pounder,'" said Davidson.

She says this is the second cougar sighting on property in the last month.

"One of our residents was in the pool at the time and saw him and made eye contact with each other. It was a little nerve-racking," said Davidson.

The property has seven acres of wooded land, with popular trails for neighbors.

Davidson hopes posting fliers with warnings will help prepare them.

A spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says they are not aware of this incident, but are not surprised.

Here are some guidelines when you spot a cougar, according its website:

If you live in cougar country:

Learn your neighborhood. Be aware of any wildlife corridors or places where deer or elk concentrate.

Walk pets during the day and keep them on a leash.

Keep pets indoors at dawn and dusk. Shelter them for the night.

Feed pets indoors.

Don't leave food and garbage outside.

Use animal-proof garbage cans if necessary.

Remove heavy brush from near the house and play areas.

Install motion-activated light outdoors along walkways and driveways.

Be more cautious at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active.

Do not feed any wildlife. By attracting other wildlife, you may attract a cougar.

Keep areas around bird feeders clean.

Deer-proof your garden and yard with nets, lights, fencing.

Fence and shelter livestock. Move them to sheds or barns at night.

If You Recreate in Cougar Country:

Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Leave your dog at home or keep it on a leash. Pets running free may lead a cougar back to you.

Hike in groups. Make noise to alert wildlife of your presence.

Keep children close to you. Teach them about wildlife.

Keep campsites clean. Sleep 100 yards from cooking areas.

Store food in animal-proof containers.

Carry deterrent spray.

Be cautious at dusk and dawn.

Never feed any wildlife. Prey attracts predators.

Do not approach any wildlife; stay at least 100 yards away.

Steer clear of baby wildlife. Mother is likely nearby.

Be alert when sitting quietly or stopping to rest.

Be especially alert at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active.

Be aware that animal calls and animal kills can attract a cougar.

If You Encounter a Cougar:

Cougars often will retreat if given the opportunity. Leave the animal a way to escape.

Stay calm and stand your ground.

Maintain direct eye contact.

Pick up children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.

Back away slowly.

Do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.

Raise your voice and speak firmly.

If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.

If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, bear or pepper spray, tools or any items available.

Call ODFW at: 505-823-6599

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