Statement on July 21 Deschutes River accident

July 22, 2022

“On behalf of all of us at Bend Park and Recreation District, our thoughts are with the family and friends of Joseph C. Torkelson. It always saddens us when a patron gets hurt at any of our facilities.

The Deschutes River has inherent hazards and dangers and unfortunately, recreating in the river can never be without risk. We have taken measures to caution river users of hazards at the Bend Whitewater Park and strongly encourage all river users to heed these precautions.

River floaters should never enter the whitewater (center) channel from upriver. To help prevent this, a prominent boom on the river and signage provide warning and a deterrent. It is imperative to abide by river safety precautions in flat water as well as in active currents and rapids. Rivers users at the whitewater park or elsewhere should always wear a lifejacket, never float the river while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and never tether watercraft together.

I thank responders and bystanders as well as the hospital personnel for their efforts.”

Don Horton, Executive Director, Bend Park and Recreation District