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Man falls to death off Goat Mountain cliff

A man fell to his death off a 230-foot cliff on Goat Mountain southeast of Colton early Thursday morning.

Crews from Molalla Fire District and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team have been in the process of recovering the man’s body from the rough terrain.

“They are figuring out a way to pack him out or will probably use a helicopter,” said Molalla Fire District Chief Vince Stafford. “The recovery is in the works now.”

The dead man was identified Friday as Lance K. Leek, 38, of Beavercreek.

According to the medical examiner, the death was accidental. Leek died of massive head and chest trauma from the fall.

Witness information indicates that Leek may have tripped near the edge of the precipice, said Sgt. Dan Kraus, a spokesman for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. Witnesses also said that Leek may have been consuming alcohol before the fall and this may have contributed to the accident. There is no information about any foul play in this matter and no further investigation is envisioned.

Stafford said Molalla Fire District received a call before 4 a.m. from the sheriff’s office, asking for assistance in trying to find the location of family members of the man at the site where he had fallen off the cliff.

The family members were using flashlights to search for him in the dark.

When MFD crews arrived, the brother of the man had just made his way down to find him.

“He yelled up to the crew that he’d found his brother, but confirmed that he was not alive,” Stafford said. “We don’t know what caused his fall, if he tripped or lost his balance somehow, but that is a popular place for people to view the stars or watch the sun come up.”

He said the man had been with friends and family members who had gathered at the viewpoint on the 4,200-foot high peak just inside the boundary of the Mount Hood National Forest.

An MFD crew led deputies to the site. At that time, one of the deputies made it down to the brother and victim and the search and rescue crew was called in, Stafford said. They reached the man shortly after daybreak.

Stafford said when his crews first went out, they were hampered in finding the site of the accident. The MFD crew contacted the Oregon Department of Forestry, which provided updated maps.

“There was some confusion over finding the location because of a lot of new road blocks,” he said. “It was difficult for us to get there – it took well over an hour.”

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