UPDATE -- SUBJECT FOUND: Search continues for Nathan Mitchell in the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness

News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office

Posted: Oct. 23-26, 2017


UPDATE (Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, 8:45 p.m.) -- NATHAN MITCHELL FOUND ALIVE

At approximately 11:00 a.m. on October 26, 2017, Nathan Mitchell was located in a drainage area off of the Bonanza Trail in Welches, five days after he was reported missing.

Mr. Mitchell was located by three of his friends, who then located Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel a short distance away on the Bonanza Trail and told them of Mr. Mitchell's whereabouts.

Mr. Mitchell was then escorted out of the wilderness, where he was met by his family and friends. Mr. Mitchell was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office would like to thank all of the search-and-rescue personnel who partnered in this long, extensive, successful search for Mr. Mitchell.


Please reference CCSO Case # 17-27934

At approximately 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, the father of Nathan Charles Mitchell, 34, of Portland, contacted the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office to report his son as an overdue hiker.

A Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinator was available and began working on developing a mission. At the time, Mitchell's intended destination was unknown.

The following day (Monday, Oct. 23), Mitchell's vehicle was located in the day-use parking lot at the Wildwood Recreation Area in Welches. With this information, Clackamas County deputies began to coordinate a search for Mitchell.

Search-and-rescue deputies coordinated the deployment of additional resources -- including Mountain Wave, Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Explorer Post, the U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Army National Guard, the Oregon Air Force Reserve and K9 teams from Mountain Wave and North Oregon Search and Rescue (NORSAR).

Currently, the search area is approximately 40 square miles, emcompassing areas of danger to include water crossings, cliffs and steep slopes in the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness. The area's topography has also caused complications with communications equipment.

During today's search (Monday, Oct. 23), there were 38 ground searchers, including members of SAR canine teams. The 38 ground personnel canvased varied terrain within the search area, and covered an average of 15 miles each. The Oregon Army National Guard also deployed a search helicopter; the helicopter searched for approximately 8 hours.

As of 11 p.m, on Monday, Oct. 23, there is still a team of searchers in the field looking for Mitchell.

Searchers were able to identify the locations where Mitchell took photos he sent to friends. They also found a rain cover from Mitchell's backpack. This rain cover was located approximately 5 miles from his car.

IMPORTANT NOTE/CORRECTION: Information was circulated requesting for people with drones to respond to the area to help with the search effort. Search and rescue coordinators do NOT want individuals to assist the search effort in this way. It will impede their ability to use the search helicopter from the Oregon Army National Guard. Please do NOT come to the search area with a drone. Deployed searchers are trained volunteers from organizations experienced with these types of operations.

Search efforts are scheduled to begin again first thing in the morning (Tuesday, Oct. 24). A request was made through the Oregon Office of Emergency Management for a statewide callout. This will help coordinate additional resources from all over the state. Washington County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Explorers are scheduled to join the search tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 24).

Media outlets responding to the Wildwood Recreation Area are asked to park at the "Media Staging Area," which is marked with signs.

When enjoying the outdoors, the Sheriff's Office encourages you to make a plan and tell someone where you are going. Try to travel with someone else if possible. Be prepared for the elements and unexpected delays should they arise. There are emergency transponders available at outdoor retailers.


The Sheriff's Office is seeking additional information in this case. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip Line -- by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form. Please reference CCSO Case # 17-27934.


News-release archive

Contact Info:
Sergeant Brian Jensen
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office