River dangers worry community after Springfield man's death

Springfield resident Debbie Meeks said she lives along the river and said this year she has noticed increased water levels.

Posted: Jun 3, 2019 6:44 PM
Updated: Jun 3, 2019 7:11 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Community members are concerned about the dangerous river conditions this year after multiple water rescues this past weekend, including one that ended in the death of 58-year-old Bryan Beyerlin of Springfield.

RELATED: Man dies after falling from raft on McKenzie River

Officials with Eugene Springfield Fire said a life jacket could have saved his life.

Springfield resident Debbie Meeks said she lives along the river and said this year she has noticed increased water levels.

"The water was higher than it's ever been,” Meeks said. “The way I access the river is through a creek, and the creek is never more than nine inches, and it was literally three feet high.”

Officials said that means there could be more debris in the water. And even if the water looks calm in one area, it may not be calm everywhere. They said an accident could happen in a split second, so they are urging people to be aware.

“Nobody plans on having those accidents, but accidents do happen, and it's always worth it to be conscious of what's in front of you,” said Vida resident Andrew Hess.

There will be a life jacket exchange at the Cabela’s in the Gateway Mall on June 15 and 16 where you can bring the life jacket your child has outgrown and exchange it for one that fits properly.

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