Clackamas County is a very large, diverse county made up of approximately 1,883 square miles. It consists of mostly recreational forest areas to include the majestic Mt. Hood. Mt. Hood is 11,240 feet tall and is home to approximately 10,000 visitors who climb it each year. Besides Mt. Hood, Clackamas County is home to the popular Pacific Crest Trail as well as many miles of hiking trails, lakes and streams. Being home to some 418,000 residence, Clackamas County is a very popular county for all types of outdoor recreation.
The Sheriff of Clackamas County is required by state statute to organize and conduct searches for lost and injured people within the county. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) has relied solely upon outside volunteer groups to assist with Search and Rescue operations within Clackamas County for many years. Starting in early 2020, Sheriff Craig Roberts made the decision to create his own team of highly skilled volunteers who work directly under the Sheriff’s Office for search and rescue missions.
The CCSO Search and Rescue (CSAR) was formed and is made up of volunteers from the community. They all must go through initial training and pass the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association certification before they are eligible to receive a SAR card from the Clackamas County Sheriff. Once they have completed this, they are eligible to deploy in the field on search and rescue missions. These missions consist of looking for lost or injured people in both the rural and urban parts of Clackamas County. These CSAR members are also utilized outside of Clackamas County when another county Sheriff requests the services through the Clackamas County Sheriff.
CSAR members not only act as ground searchers but they also specialize in other areas of rescue. These other specialized teams consist of a running team, medical team, rope rescue team, K-9 team and a rehabilitation team who provide food and care for the searchers at the base camp. Some missions are accomplished in several hours however there are other missions that last multiple days to weeks. When the volunteers are not on active search and rescue missions, they spend their time logging countless training hours to keep their skills sharp. CSAR members also spend their time educating the community on how to safely recreate in the outdoors.
The direct supervision of this program consists of Deputies, Sergeants and a SAR Commander with the Sheriff’s Office. While some equipment is provided by the CCSO, there is a lot of smaller equipment that is up to the volunteer to purchase on their own. CSAR is now accepting donations through the Clackamas County Peace Officer’s Benevolent Foundation in order to minimize the expenses each CSAR member has to pay out of their own pockets. Your donations are a great way to help support the mission or saving lives within Clackamas County!