Police: Parks employee finds body in Beggars Tick marsh

Parks employee finds body in Beggars Tick marsh (KATUphoto)

Police say a Parks & Recreation employee found a body in Beggars Tick marsh in Southeast Portland around 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Based on initial observations, police say the body appears to have been in the water for quite some time.

Officers, along with the medical examiner and a dive team from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, worked for several hours to remove the body from the marsh for examination.

“I came out, my dog ran out to the fence, I heard them say there must be a body out there. So I thought, I must be hearing things,” Seeford Werth said.

Seeford Werth lives nearby, and he heard police talking about a body.

Police say the body appears to be that of a white man. His age is hard to tell, but they're thinking somewhere between 20 and 60 years old.

A park ranger found the man's body floating in a marsh.

Police believe he's been in that swampy area for a number of months.

Werth said he's not surprised.

“It used to be nice and quiet, but now there's garbage everywhere," Werth said.

He says over the last few years, homeless people have started moving in -- whether it be in RVs along the street or camping in the refuge.

“It doesn't worry me. I'll just be watching more,” Werth said.

Werth said he ran into a problem of his own, with homeless stealing from him a few years back.

“It was 2 a.m., and I heard something and I saw someone coming out of my tool room carrying my tools, and I said, ‘What do you think you’re doing?'” Werth said.

That's when he said he made it clear they were not welcome.

“So I took my pistol out and said, 'All right, you guys, you run, I'm gonna a blow your head off, now!” Werth said.

Now with a body being found so close to home he said he will be extra vigilant.

“I'll be a watching,” Werth said.

Police say the body was so badly decomposed it could take weeks before they learn the person’s identity or cause of death. Police say the body did not have any signs of trauma, so they do not suspect foul play.

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