Kim Search discussion page 9

Oregon State Sheriff’s Association Report

(Feel free to discuss this report in the comment section below)

The discussion of the Kim Family Search in the Rogue River region of Southern Oregon continues in the comment section below. Please feel free to chime in.

For earlier comments and information links about the Kim Story click here or at the top of any page on the “Kim Story” tab.

Shaming and blaming and the tragic death of James Kim

Over at, Sarah Keech has a thoughful article about the Kim Family story, though I read it as a somewhat too defensive reaction to the letter from James’ Kim’s father Spencer published in the Washington Post last week.

In “Who’s to Blame for James Kim’s Death” Keech suggests, correctly in my view:

It’s not the federal government or law enforcement or the people who tried to rescue him from the Oregon wilderness.

Ironically, Spencer Kim would probably agree with her statement.   I’ve been concerned at the tone of many locals who have suggested a father, grieving his son no less, has no right to suggest that better maps, signs, gates and policies might have kept this from happening. Of course he has that right and his letter was in my opinion quite a reasonable reaction given that Mr. Kim has just lost his son to an unforgiving Oregon winter wilderness.

I know this area well and it’s common knowledge that signs on the Bear Camp Road could use improvement.   Money and priorities are legitimate issues with such improvements as are the rights people have to access to public lands.     A route that would be fine for an experienced hunter with 4WD Truck, chains, winter gear and provisions may become a death trap for a family car.

Here’s my reply to the Salon article:

Ms. Keech you have made several good and several obvious points about the folly of legislating solutions on the basis of unusual and tragic events, but that’s not the big story of the Kims tragic trip into Oregon’s Rogue River Wilderness. I think Spencer Kim’s letter is a reasonable characterization of the many challenges facing the search effort, though I agree the solutions suggested are far too expensive to justify the handful of lives this might save over many years. Better to spend on life saving measures that have a much higher return on the investment of tax dollars.

But that is _not_ the big story here!

As a southern Oregon local and long term resident of the region the Kim Family story capitivated me from the beginning. This interest has become almost obsessive as I blogged the event – almost play by play – as “Joe Duck”.

The Kim story is the triumph of a mother and children surviving the wilderness after nine days, and a father heroically challenging that wilderness in an unsuccessful, tragic hike to save them. It’s the story of an enormous and sometimes heroic search and rescue effort that was well intentioned at all times, but plagued by many of the bureaucratic forces that are likely to be proposed as the solution to future problems in Oregon. Perhaps more than anything the Kim Story is remarkable because it has touched the lives of millions around the world, millions who saw in the Kim’s happy family their own family and the life-shattering consequences of a single wrong turn on what appeared to be a passable road.

Survival Tips and Survival Kits

Blogging the Kim Family Search story has led to a number of great comments and articles about survival kits and wilderness survival tips. Feel free to leave more in the comments section – just post the URL and it will link up automatically.

Wilderness Survival Tips Website

Field and Stream Pocket Survival Kit: This article shows how to build a very inexpensive but fairly complete and light survival kit.

Survival tips from the TV Series “Survivorman”

Google Search for “Wilderness Survival”

Supplies list for long road trips:

Oregon Wireless Interoperability Network

Kim Search Comments and discussion – click here

This effort is very interesting. I’m highlighting notes from a Jeff Barnard A.P. article:

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski wants the state to explore ways of helping local agencies better communicate and coordinate during rescue efforts.

The governor also is concerned that county sheriff’s departments, which are responsible for conducting search and rescue operations in Oregon, may not be funded adequately, spokeswoman Anna Richter-Taylor said.

“Maybe what we need to do is to look a little bit broader and to see if there’s a different relationship, a partnership between the state and the counties, so that we can help the counties in some of these operations,” Kulongoski told Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Kulongoski’s spokeswoman said the governor wanted to review after-incident reports to figure out where the state can better support efforts on the ground by the local communities.

“Whether it is communications, helping establish a system of centralized communications, or around equipment, the state wants to do everything it can to be supportive,” she said from Salem.

Kulongoski’s budget for 2007 includes $561 million to establish the Oregon Wireless Interoperability Network, Richter-Taylor said.The money would go toward building 54 communications towers around the state to allow first-responders from state, local and federal agencies involved in emergency operations to talk to each other.


See comments for more

Missing at sea in Oregon

Today (Sunday) a fishing boat has sunk off the Oregon Coast and a few days ago a Catamaran washed ashore with nobody aboard. I’m looking for more detail now and I’m getting a bit paranoid as it seems Oregon is rapidly becoming the US capital of missing people.

The Coast Guard is asking that anyone who may have seen the Catamaran in transit from San Francisco please contact Coast Guard District 13 Command Center at (800) 982-8813.From Oregonlive:

On Rogue River, rescuers find boat owner’s survival suit
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and rescue boat renewed their search today for three crew members from a 43-foot fishing vessel that sank Saturday at the entrance of the Rogue River.

The commercial vessel’s crew, which included owner Robert James Ashdown, 44, of Port Orford sent a distress message about 3:40 p.m. Coast Guard Air Station North Bend picked up the signal and initiated an air and sea search.

A life raft, spotted near the river’s entrance by a crew member who apparently did not go out with the others Saturday, contained no members of the crew, said Shawn Eggert, a public affairs specialist with the Coast Guard’s District 13 public affairs office in Seattle. The life raft is in the custody of the Curry County Sheriff’s office, he said.

Debris from the boat, including some survival suits identified by Ashdown’s family as belonging to him, also were found.

The vessel capsized as it attempted to cross the Rogue River bar in Gold Beach, where it encountered extremely high waves and a strong surf, according to the Curry County sheriff’s office. Witnesses said the boat had just crossed the bar when it was slammed first by a wave that knocked it sideways and then by another, which turned the craft over.

The sheriff’s office said it was not yet releasing the names of the other two crew members.

[Note that about 70 miles upriver from the mouth of the Rogue River lies Big Windy Creek Canyon where James Kim died last week, only about a half mile from this same Rogue River.]