2 Ore. teens missing in foothills outside Portland
By STEVEN DUBOIS
The Associated Press | October 30,2012
PORTLAND, Ore. — More than 50 searchers on Monday converged on the foothills south of Portland looking for two teenagers who failed to return from a day hike and were missing after two nights of wet, windy weather.
Deputy Nate Thompson of the Clackamas County sheriff’s office said the two are Boy Scouts experienced in the outdoors, but authorities don’t know what kind of gear they took with them.
The teens — 16-year-old Bradley Nelson and 17-year-old Jackson Chandler — left West Linn in suburban Portland on Saturday afternoon intending to hike and return to their car by dark, Thompson said.
Their parents called for help when the boys didn’t return on time. Searchers on Sunday found the car the teens drove five miles east of the Table Rock Wilderness area. Thompson said there was no other trace of the boys, such as an indication of which way they headed in the foothills of the Cascade Range.
Thompson said about 50 people from volunteer groups were looking for Nelson and Chandler, and more searchers were arriving Monday morning.
Although the temperatures were mild for mid-autumn, the rains and wind the past two days could put the teenagers in jeopardy of hypothermia, Thompson said.
Nelson and Chandler are “experienced backpackers” who own plenty of the gear that could keep them warm and dry in the woods, Thompson said. He said deputies are working with the families to determine how much the boys took with them when they left mid-afternoon Saturday.
The teens’ late start left them little time to hike before nightfall, and Thompson said the two may have misjudged how long it would take them to drive to the area, about 40 miles southeast of West Linn.
The Table Rock wilderness attracts many hikers, but Thompson said he had never heard of people getting lost in the Lost Creek Meadow area where Chandler’s car was found. He said the area is at an elevation of about 4,000 feet and forested.
Lou Bailey, the principal at West Linn High School, said the boys are good students who are popular with their peers. He said both ran track last year and are avid hikers. He laughed in agreement when told of a Facebook comment that describes Chandler as a “mini-MacGyver,” referring to the ’80s television character famous for his makeshift method of defusing threats.
“We’re putting all our faith in that they’re experienced and they know what to do in situations, and will be able to survive out there for a couple of days,” Bailey said.