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Stay out of river – for safety sake

While we're on the subject of summer and safety (see above editorial), it's also just about time for the weather to break loose into one of those scorcher days that attracts hordes of people hoping to cool off in the icy waters of the Sandy River.

And we have some advice for those who might seek to find such relief in the Sandy's powerful currents: Don't do it.

This newspaper's columns have been filled over the decades with the stories of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people who've lost their lives while engaging in the seemingly wholesome activity of swimming in the river. The Sandy's deceptively swift flow and its surprisingly cold temperatures have taken many, many people - particularly younger ones - off guard. When these hazards are combined with the tendency for river visitors to imbibe in alcohol, the result has been deadly and certainly tragic.

We are pleased to see that American Medical Response will be back again to provide lifeguards at Glenn Otto Park. But even if that stretch of river has an extra layer of protection, it still doesn't mean that a wild stream can ever be completely safe. A better bet is to use the Mt. Hood Community College pool or other similar facilities for summer recreation.

Despite the annual warnings, too many people still die on the river every year. East County residents should impress upon their children, especially, just how dangerous the Sandy River can be and how easily an afternoon frolic can turn into a life-altering tragedy.