(Left to right: Trooper Goetz & Captain Heider)
An Oregon State Police (OSP) trooper assigned at the Portland Area Command office received the Department’s “Harold R. Berg Lifesaving Award” for his lifesaving response during an unfolding incident on an Interstate 5 bridge last February.
On July 24, 2014, Captain Andy Heider presented the “Harold R. Berg Lifesaving Award” to Trooper Jamison Goetz at the Portland Area Command office. The lifesaving award is presented to OSP employees who distinguish themselves by performing or reacting to a situation in a positive and professional manner which saves, or reduces the risk of loss of life of another person; and, where a strong possibility existed that if such action wasn’t taken, loss of life or serious injury would have resulted.
On the afternoon of February 16, 2014, Trooper Goetz responded to a call of a woman dancing in and out of traffic on the southbound side of Interstate 5 at Boone Bridge near Wilsonville. Upon his arrival, the woman then sat on the guardrail with her feet dangling off the side of the bridge approximately 75 feet above the Willamette River.
Believing his presence may escalate the woman’s behavior, Goetz stayed in his patrol car and spoke to the woman through the PA system’s outside speaker, asking her to come off the guardrail and back onto the highway. While communicating with the woman, Goetz also coordinated response of additional police resources, stopped southbound traffic on the freeway, and kept others from approaching the woman.
The woman eventually got off the guardrail and back onto the roadway, where she sprinted across the southbound lanes toward the northbound lanes where traffic was still moving. Goetz ran after the woman, jumped the center concrete barrier and tackled her as she was approaching the fog line and guardrail on the east side of the bridge. With the help of two other troopers, they took the woman into custody. She was determined to be in an excited state of mind due to methamphetamine use and later told OSP she was trying to “fly”. Goetz received minor scrapes and bruises.
“It is apparent that Trooper Goetz placed himself in harm’s way to make sure somebody he didn’t know who needed medical and psychological help, was stopped before she could jump to almost certain death from the bridge,” said Superintendent Richard Evans.
Trooper Goetz, age 38, joined OSP January 2009 and is currently assigned in the Patrol Services Division at the Portland Area Command office. Prior to working for OSP, Goetz worked 9 years for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
The “Harold R. Berg Lifesaving Award” is named after Lieutenant Harold R. Berg who died May 10, 1975. While off duty at a family outing near Tillamook, Berg was contacted by a citizen who informed him that a boy scout was missing at Cape Lookout State Park. While attempting to search a cave near the water’s edge, he was washed out to sea.