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River floater goes through Bend's Colorado Dam spillway

Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:28:51 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 13 2014 03:25:38 PM CDT
Bend fire truck (generic)

BEND, Ore. -

Some bystanders helped a river floater who was washed through Bend’s Colorado Avenue Dam spillway Saturday afternoon – but two others who tried to help ended up needing rescue themselves by fire crews using a ladder, officials said.

Bend firefighters responded shortly before 2 p.m. to the reported emergency at the dam near McKay Park, said fire Capt. Jeff Blake.

Crews arrived to find a river floater had been washed through the dam and was helped to shore by bystanders, Blake said.

But firefighters had to help two others who tried to rescue the floater from the river. Crews used a ladder rescue technique to safely remove the good Samaritans from the river below the bridge, Blake said.

The river floater sustained minor injuries and was not taken to the hospital.

Blake reminded river users to know and follow posted rules and regulations involving floating on the river, including the take-out points. He also noted that combining “alcohol and floating the river can have dangerous consequences.”

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River users have drowned or been injured going through the spillway in the past. Coincidentally, the Bend Park and Recreation District's plans for the Colorado Dam Safe Passage Project go to a public hearing before the Bend Planning Commission Monday evening at 5:30 p.m.

Much of the funds come from a voter-approved park bond measure, with the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance also raising a share. It's been called three projects in one: a safe passage for boaters and tubers, habitat restoration for fish, birds and amphibians, and a constructed whitewater feature for kayakers. Find more details at


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