On October 22, 2016 at approximately 4:55 pm Polk County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a missing mushroom picker near mile marker 5 of Valsetz RD, southwest of Falls City. 26 year old Portland area resident Lesia Osiychuk was last seen around 3:00 pm before becoming separated from a group of friends.
Polk County Search and Rescue (SAR) was activated but by the time the main body of searchers was arriving, it was dark and raining lightly. Search teams deployed on foot and utilizing vehicles to access the many forest roads in the area. Polk County was assisted by search and rescue members from Benton, Yamhill and Linn counties as well as a SAR Region Three tracking dog. Additional help was provided by Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife. The search went through the night without success.
Ms. Osiychuk was located by a team of searchers at approximately 9:20 am the following morning walking a secondary forest road that a search team accessed by using a chainsaw to clear downed trees. While not adequately dressed for an overnight stay in the woods on a rainy night, Ms. Osiychuk did have a light jacket and sweatshirt that provided some relief from the cold. Though chilled, she was not injured and did not require medical attention.
Monitoring the search, Sheriff Mark Garton was relieved to learn that Ms. Osiychuk had been found and was in good health. He expressed gratitude to the dedicated volunteers from each organization represented, thanking them for answering the call when needed.
In March of 2016 the Polk County Sheriff's Office was awarded a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) directed toward speed enforcement. The grant ran from May 5th to September 30th. The grant assisted the Sheriff's Office in addressing speed related issues and crashes. This was accomplished through directed enforcement of speed on highways and roadways throughout Polk County. The directed patrols were in addition to normal patrols.
The goal of the grant was to make the highways and roadways safer for those that call Polk County home as well as for those that travel through the county. During the grant deputies worked nearly 100 hours of dedicated speed enforcement and stopped about 222 vehicles. There were 166 citations issued related to speed during that period as well. Multiple other citations as well as warnings were issued during the grant period.
Sheriff Garton is proud of the hard work, dedication, and commitment to the safety of the citizens of Polk County as well as those who travel through Polk County. Even though the speed grant is complete, deputies will continue to enforce traffic laws throughout the county during their normal patrol shifts.