Hidden Dangers in Local Part of River

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EUGENE, Ore. — The water, the trees and the breeze.

Recreationists come out to the stretch of the Willamette River between Marshall Island and Harrisburg for a number of reasons.

But they know safety comes before fun.

“We talked to the group before we left and we talked about exactly the types of things to look out for woody debris and the channel not getting your boat sideways to that because that’s where you can kind of get sucked up against the debris,” said Jeff Krueger, Eugene resident.

For years Krueger and his family have canoed and kayaked down this stretch of the Willamette, even as far as Corvallis.

But he says this summer the low water levels have him and his family on high alert.

“With the low water right now it’s definitely a little trickier to navigate because it limits your options. And you’re pretty much looking down single channels to go down we’re staying out the side channels for the most part,” said Krueger.

Lane County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Deputy Paul Vitus says being prepared is a smart move.

“Hazards happen everyday within minutes you get a tree fall or something and so you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times,” said Vitus.

He says they’ve already been called out to five rescues on this stretch this month.

And it’s becoming more common for recreationists to head out later than they normally do.

“When you’re out here at dark you can’t see anything, I mean you see some farm homes off in the distance. The other night that’s what the gentleman did he got stuck out here and then he crawled through the brush and went to the farm house and called for help,” said Vitus.

Lane County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue says rescues start to slow down in September because school starts back up.

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