Cougar in Northeast Portland tree humanely euthanized, ODFW says

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A cougar that was in a tree for hours in a Northeast Portland backyard Friday was humanely euthanized, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Officials got the cougar out of a tree at a residence near Northeast 121st Avenue and Stanton just before 6 p.m. The cougar was placed in a cage.

Mike Carnivali lives in the house with the backyard where the cougar climbed the tree.

"I was in the back yard with my friend and the dogs were barking at the tree so I kept thinking there was a squirrel out there because there always is, and I kept looking up and I said whoawe gotta get in the house. There's a cougar in this tree," Carnivali said.

Despite an earlier tweet from Portland police that ODFW would take the cougar back to the forest, ODFW officials later told KATU that the cougar had to be put down because it had become accustomed to the urban environment and was no longer afraid of people.

"(It was) very scary because I have children...It looked as big as my dog and he was about 120 lbs I'd say," Carnivali explained.

A state veterinarian will perform a necropsy to determine whether disease or some other reason resulted in the cougar not being able to survive in the wild.

The treed cougar drew a crowd of neighbors and media to the area.

"It's bad enough getting the regular house cat upset let alone a cougar from the wild," Cy Phillips said.

Phillips watched crews work to get the cat out of the tree from a block away with dozens of other neighbors.

Police closed 121st near Stanton and kept neighbors and the media back from the scene in case the cougar decided to attack and they needed to shoot it.

The Independence Day excitement came after three more people reported seeing a cougar in East Portland, police said on Friday

The first sighting was at 1:30 a.m. Friday, near N.E. 117th Ave. and Siskiyou. The second came around 4:10 a.m. in the area of the Gateway bike path at northbound I-305. The final sighting was at 5:30 a.m. near N.E. 115th Ave. and Siskiyou.

The police went out, but didn't see the cougar.

On Wednesday though, they did. Around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, officers spotted the cougar walking around near N.E. 147th and Sandy Blvd.

It disappeared into the trees, and police couldn't find it again.

That followed several calls earlier in the week.

If you see a cougar, call 911.