Multnomah County Search and Rescue

Natalie Ramsey

The Charter- 5/22/19  

The team, MCSOSAR, is Multnomah County’s resource for Search and Rescue. Multnomah County Search and Rescue unit. They primarily do searches for lost hikers in the Columbia Gorge, urban searches in surrounding areas, and evidence searches.

Multnomah County’s team is youth led and accepts applications from teens ages fourteen and up. If accepted, volunteers are required to complete an eight month basic training where they are taught wilderness survival, navigation, types of searches, and other various skills. After the eight month training there is a written state certification test and navigation test. Along with the written tests there is a weekend outing for practical tests.

Outings are a part of the eight month training and happen once a month, and are usually overnight from Saturday to Sunday. These outings are to practice the skills that were taught during that month. Callouts are what happen when someone goes missing and Search and Rescue is needed. An all call is sent out by text to everyone in the unit, and if someone is able to attend the callout they respond to their team leader.

MCSOSAR has four teams: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta. Within each of these teams is a Team Leader (TL), and an Assistant Team Leader (ATL). Along with TLs and ATLs, there is also President and Vice president. The President and Vice President oversee everyone and also handle callouts.

“As an ATL you have some given responsibilities but sometimes you act more like a second TL. You are technically there for when your TL isn’t available. You handle contacting the team during searches if your TL is off call,” Says ATL Lucy Nelson, “this year has been a bit different since we did not recruit, but during a normal year you assist your TL with handling and training the team.

Search and Rescue is physically and mentally draining. It takes up a lot of time and energy, and can be difficult to manage school and life while being actively involved. The training is challenging and exhausting and a search could happen at any time, but can be very rewarding.

“…SAR takes a huge amount of time and energy. The meetings and outings are very time consuming, and in the case of the latter, I lose an entire weekend and often one-two days of sleep,” says Rosa Christen, “in general I just have to pick and choose when I can attend a callout…I haven’t regretted any of the callouts I have attended, only the ones I’ve missed.”

Madison Ramsey talks about her experience with SAR.


Christen, Rosa. Personal Email interview, May 12, 2019.

MCSOSAR. Accessed, May 20, 2019.

Nelson, Lucy. Personal Email interview, May 11, 2019.

Ramsey, Madison. Personal interview, May 11, 2019.