Following a meeting of the minds, Portland Mountain Rescue, an elite team of highly trained and experienced volunteer rescuers that operate on Mt. Hood, is poised to become a unit in the new, consolidated search and rescue team proposed by Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.
The move to bring all the county’s volunteer SAR groups under a single, unified banner was touted by the sheriff and others as being research-based and in line with models that have proven successful in other counties. But it raised concerns among groups such as Portland Mountain Rescue, who believe that dangerous areas like Mt. Hood need a dedicated and specially trained team — not a unit of general volunteers.
Last week, Sheriff Craig Roberts and representatives from Portland Mountain Rescue met for what they described as “a productive discussion of the future of search and rescue in Clackamas County,” and arrived at a mutual agreement for a closer relationship that would ultimately result in PMR becoming a unit of the new nonprofit envisioned by the sheriff: Clackamas County Search and Rescue.
“We all believe this arrangement will improve safety on the mountain,” a joint statement from the two groups said. “This partnership will strengthen our existing integration of personnel and resources, and will make planning and mission response more efficient.”
PMR representatives said they “really appreciate” Sheriff Roberts’ focused effort to improve search and rescue in the county, saying these efforts have already manifested in improvements to communications and mission planning that are making a difference in the field.
They said that incorporating PMR into the new search and rescue nonprofit will “preserve attributes of Portland Mountain Rescue we believe are critical to successful mountain rescue.”
Sheriff Roberts agreed.
“Mt. Hood is one of the most-climbed mountains in the world, and it takes a highly specialized team like Portland Mountain Rescue to accomplish these often dangerous rescue missions safely,” he said.
Roberts says he looks forward to continuing this discussion and working with PMR as they continue working on their shared mission to save lives.
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