WARRENTON — Residents who beared witness to an unusually large, black animal Tuesday were not hallucinating.
Police have received at least three calls since a bear was reported to be digging through trash in a dumpster at the Hammond Marina Tuesday morning. Residents also claimed their garbage had been disturbed.
At this point, police believe just one bear is roaming. Since Tuesday was garbage day in Hammond, the animal may have been more active than usual, Police Chief Mathew Workman said.
A rarity on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, bears were also spotted in Warrenton and Hammond last October. Warrenton police posted a video exactly one year ago Tuesday of an officer chasing a small black bear off Skipanon Drive in a car. Workman had only heard of one bear sighting in his eight years as chief before that report.
“I don’t know if it’s the same bear looking to hibernate in the area or what, but it’s ironic,” Workman said.
Workman advised residents not to approach bears, remove as many food scents as possible from outside homes and secure garbage cans. While it is natural for bears to roam at night, residents should call police if they are creating a dangerous situation or if the animals are spotted during the day.
“If you keep your distance, you should be fine,” Workman said.