Umatilla Co. sheriff’s deputy drowns in northeast Oregon river

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SUNDAY EVENING UPDATE:

Rafting accident victim, identified as Senior Deputy Jason Post, was “well respected and loved,” sheriff’s office says


ORIGINAL STORY:

MINAM, Ore. — A sheriff’s deputy for Umatilla County died Saturday in an accident on a northeast Oregon river, the sheriff’s office confirmed Sunday.

The deputy drowned near Minam State Recreation Area, a state park in Wallowa County, according to Lt. Sterrin Ward with the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Ward planned to release a statement later Sunday. The deputy’s name has not been formally released.

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Wallowa County Search and Rescue said it was dispatched at 11:11 a.m. Saturday “for a boat accident on the Wallowa River near Minam Park.” The team had been training on the Wallowa River but quickly moved equipment to Minam, “where they backed up the emergency personnel already on scene.”

The man died during a weekend river trip, leaving his family and the regional law enforcement family grieving.

Locals in La Grande witnessed a law-enforcement vehicle procession escorting the deputy’s body through town on the way back to Umatilla County, where the deputy lived.

His home agency shared a message Sunday morning:

Our hearts are broken. To his family, you are our family. We are so sorry and we love you. To those who joined us yesterday to help bring our brother home, we are forever grateful for your outpouring of love, your support, your respect and your concern. We are family. 💔

A post Saturday night on the Union County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page reads, “Prayers to our family over the hill….” The photo attached is of a mourning badge: the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office badge with a black “mourning band” stretched across.

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Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office shared the same image to Facebook, changing its profile photo in a show of support.

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A mourning badge is typically worn in the days between the death of a law enforcement officer and the memorial service for that officer, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

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The Minam River is a tributary of the Wallowa and runs through the Wallowa Mountains between La Grande and Joseph, Oregon. The Wallowa is a tributary of the Grand Ronde River.