Black bear

Black bear (Photo courtesy ODFW)

Black bears have been sighted near a dense residential Newport neighborhood.

According to a Friday afternoon press release from the city of Newport, the city learned of recent black bear sightings near Sam Case Elementary School, located at 459 NE 12th St., about five blocks east of Highway 101 in central Newport on the edge of the heavily wooded Big Creek and Forest Park areas.

"Law enforcement and fish and wildlife partners are also aware of the situation and have asked neighbors to keep their garbage inside," the press release reads. "Bears should never be allowed access to human food or garbage; it habituates them to people and increases the chance of conflict." The press release said school district staff are aware of the sightings and are prepared to respond.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are as many as 30,000 black bears in Oregon, and attacks are rare. The department has a checklist for how to "bear proof" your home, safe hiking and camping, and how to respond to a bear encounter (Don't run, avoid eye contact and sudden movements, make loud noises, back away slowly and fight back if it attacks).

ODFW asks those who have close encounters with black bears to contact the department at 800-720-ODFW or odfw.info@odfw.oregon.gov.

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