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COUNTY: Coos County
NEAREST TOWN: Arago
NEAREST ROAD: About 4-5 miles off Lampa Mountain road
OBSERVED: My name is John R. This incident occurred in early 1980 near Arago, about 5-7 miles from Lampa Mountain. I had a paper route then and I was delivering newpapers from my truck to the residents of that area.
It has been so long ago I don't remember the road name, but it was about 0330 and it was raining slighty when I came around a sharp corner in the road and saw the back of a large animal quickly crossing the roadway and climbing the side of the roadcut. The road cut was covered with grass about 2 feet high and was about 10 feet high and proabably at a 70 degree angle.
As large bears are common in this area due to the sheep population, I initially assumed it was a reddish brown colored bear I was driving by. The animal must have been at least 6 foot long and had very long hair along its spine. I remember very clearly the part in the hair along the spine, due to the wet weather.
I passed within 15 feet of the animal as it climbed very quickly to the top of the road cut and out of sight. What always struck me as odd is that the animals spine did not flex like that of a bear when it was moving, and that its rear legs were not directly under it, more out to its sides as it climbed out of sight. It also had very large, broad shoulders. The animal climbed hand-over-hand to the top of the roadcut in about 3 seconds.
ALSO NOTICED: I drove to the same area a few days later during the daytime. Ther was still signs that a very large animal had recently climbed the roadcut. The rain had removed any footprints, but the soil was still overturned.
OTHER STORIES: I grew up in the area near Riverton and frequently hunted and camped in the hills between Lampa Mt and Fat Elk Creek. On another occasion my friend Frank S and I came across claw marks in a tree that were higher than Frank could reach, He is 6-4. The marks were very noticible, about 6 inches in length and were half way around the tree. As I recall, there was a record Black Bear killed on Lampa Mt in the mid 1970's. Frank and I assumed we were seeing evidence of such a bear. This incident would have occured about 1978.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Dark, slight rain, cold, windy
ENVIRONMENT: The Coquille River was about 150 yds away, downhill. The area is pasture and farmland.
Follow-up investigation report:
During the investigation of this report, John R. added this note by email:
"The more I think of that night I spoke about, I realized that I saw a profile view of the animal's face. It was rather flat in profile, and then it raised its front legs or arms almost infront of its body as it ran, and very rapidly climbed the road cut... and I mean VERY RAPIDLY. Its body also appeared to be very strong... the impression I will always have is that it was a running back in a furry suit carrying a football! I say this because of the relative size of the shoulders versus the waist and the speed it had. I am trying to recall how many steps it took to cross the road... and I am thinking 4-5 steps from the right side to the edge of the road cut along the left side of the road, then a few steps up and out of sight."