Deficit could affect ODFW cougar call response times

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spent 100 hours alone on single cougar incident this summer

A cougar at the Oregon Zoo, July 23, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
A cougar at the Oregon Zoo, July 23, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is currently faced with a deficit, which could force the agency to make some cuts.

ODFW said they spent 100 hours alone dealing with a single cougar that was found in a backyard tree in Northeast Portland this summer.

As of now, the agency receives most of their funds from the federal government and revenue from hunting and fishing permits. With permit sales down, ODFW is hoping to get help from the state general fund.

“Certainly cougar management is one of our jobs, and we’re going to manage cougars, but if we have less resources on the ground and less people, then certainly it’s going to affect our ability to do certain things,” said Michelle Dennehy with ODFW.

If forced to make cuts, the agency said it may affect how quickly they can respond to incidents such as cougar calls down the road.

Their budget goes to Governor John Kitzhaber who does not foresee the ODFW needing to make cuts.

“The Governor is confident ODFW will continue to meet its public safety responsibilities. The Governor is putting together his recommended budget for the 2015-17 biennium and working with state agencies, including ODFW, on their resource needs,” said Governor John Kitzhaber’s Press Secretary Rachel Wray.

Lawmakers will have the final say next year.

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