News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Redmond woman drowns at Scout Lake

A 44-year-old teacher from Redmond drowned at Scout Lake on Sunday.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reported that emergency responders were dispatched at 12:35 p.m on May 10 to the report of a possible drowning at Scout Lake, near Suttle Lake and Highway 20 about 12 miles west of Sisters.

Dispatch was told a female had fallen from her stand-up paddleboard into the lake. She was reportedly not wearing a life jacket. The woman, later identified as Valerie Mallory, was pulled from the water and CPR was started. Medics from the Sisters/Camp Sherman Fire Department arrived but were unable to resuscitate the woman.

She had friends and family on scene.

“The warm weather and loosening of stay home orders have brought people from their homes out into the woods and lakes in high numbers to recreate this weekend,” stated Jefferson County Undersheriff Marc Heckathorn. “This is a very sad reminder of the need for all boaters to wear or have immediately available a person flotation device when on the water.”

Oregon State Police, Forest Service Law Enforcement, and the Sisters/Camp Sherman Fire Department assisted at the scene.

Law enforcement and the Oregon Marine Board report that paddling fatalities are on the rise in Oregon. Sunday’s incident is the sixth on Oregon’s waterways this spring. According to law enforcement authorities, all have two things in common: not wearing life jackets, and cold water.

The Oregon State Marine Board is urging boaters headed to the water as spring weather gets nice — especially people in canoes, kayaks, and on stand-up paddleboards — to dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. The water is cold.

“We are concerned,” said Marine Board Boating Safety Program Manager Randy Henry. “People are anxious to get out and have fun, but water is serious business. If you go boating, wear your life jacket, buckle it up, and make sure it’s a snug fit. Always dress appropriately, and if you’re paddling, dress for the water. A dunking this time of year can be deadly.”

This season, many people new to paddling or people who haven’t paddled in a while are strongly encouraged to take a free, online paddling course to learn about self-rescue, how to re-board your paddle-craft, important equipment/requirements and other safety skills to develop. Start out on calm, flat water, and slowly progress to other waterbodies as skills develop. There are also paddling clubs in many communities as well as online forums with local safety information.


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