by: ESTACADA NEWS ARCHIVES - 1983: Estacada High School Senior Jeff Goudge tells a Clackamas County Sheriff's deputy how he an his friend Scott McElheran decided to scale a cliff in the Clackamas River canyon. McElheran got stuck 300 feet up the cliff face, Goudge climbed down and went for help. Both boys made it through the incident safely.


Two Estacada High School seniors decided, for a lark, to scale a cliff in the Clackamas River canyon sans ropes, picks or climbing apparatuses of any kind. The plan was to climb up the high cliff and walk along a ridge to a point where they could easily get to the highway below.

As Scott McElheran and Jeff Goudge neared the top of the cliff, they started to slip and have difficulty finding a foothold. McElheran got stuck 300 feet up the cliff face.

“There was a spot in between where I was, and he was where there wasn’t anything to hang onto,” Goudge said. “I think he could have made it if he weren’t so tired and scared... I tried to help him guide his feet, but I couldn’t see mine either.”

Goudge climbed back down the cliff face and drove to Estacada to get help.

Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies were amazed that Goudge had made it up the cliff and back down safely.

Deputies, Forest Service employees and volunteer firefighters rushed to the scene to help rescue McElheran from his precarious perch.

McElheran was stranded on a 3-foot-wide perch on the cliff face for four hours during the rescue effort.

Luckily McElheran was in “excellent condition” following his rescue.

It was a Channel 8 helicopter that suffered the worst from the incident. It got stuck on a sandbar in the river with a dead battery.


Clackamas County was experiencing a rise in gang activity.

Police contact with gang members in 1993 had nearly doubled since 1992.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office told the Clackamas County News that skinheads were increasingly leaving graffiti in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

However, to the Sheriff’s Office’s knowledge, there was no reason to believe any gang called Estacada home at the time.

In other news, six sets of twins were enrolled at River Mill Elementary.

The paper’s thought of the day came from Rebecca West: “The trouble about man is twofold: He cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple.”


During heavy rains, the city of Estacada had accidentally dumped sewage into the Clackamas River four times in the past two years or so.

The waste water plant was designed to pass 4.5 million gallons of water a day, but during storms the plant was sometimes forced to process more than that.

All waste water passed through primary treatment system, but sometimes excess water bypassed legally required secondary treatment and flowed into the Clackamas River.

The DEQ was not pleased.

“The bottom line is (waste water bypassing secondary treatment is) just not allowed, and every municipality has to follow the same rules,” said Gary Sage, a DEQ water quality engineering technician.

The city was required to improve its waste water treatment plant in order to renew its five-year permit.

Estacada was given 3-1/2 years to solve the problem.

The two main improvements required were to prevent sewage from bypassing secondary treatment and to monitor any overflow.

In other news, the Skip-a-Week Quilt Club was hard at work preparing a centennial quilt to commemorate Estacada’s 100 years as a city come 2004.

Reconstruction of the school district’s central office was delayed.


Thanks to years of effort, volunteers, students and Estacada High School science teacher Kate Dean were preparing to open the Estacada School District greenhouse in January 2013.

Compiled from archives.

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