Man dies after falling down cliff east of Sweet Home

A Eugene man was found dead at the bottom of a cliff east of Sweet Home Thursday, June 17, when rescuers reached him, Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon said.

A Sheriff’s Office news release said deputies responded shortly after noon to a rescue off Sheep Creek Road off Highway 20, east of Sweet Home.

Linn County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a 9-1-1 call of a male falling 40-feet down a cliff.

Yon said the injuries of the male were unknown at the time and appeared urgent. During the immediate response, deputies contacted Linn County Search and Rescue, Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Lebanon Fire Department Rope Techs and Life Flight. The area is remote, difficult to access due to steep banks, cliffs and miles of gravel roads.

Upon arrival, deputies could see Lloyd Barton, 76, of Eugene, unresponsive at the bottom of the cliff, according to the release. Rescue teams worked to descend to Barton.

As time progressed, it was clear Barton was deceased. Rescue teams worked to recover his body and he was transported to the Sweet Home Funeral Chapel for additional assessment by a medical examiner.

A witness described Barton attempting to access the area to fish, Yon said.

While attempting to descend the steep terrain and cliffs to the river, Barton lost his footing and began tumbling down hundreds of feet before falling off a 40-foot cliff. The witness walked out of the area, contacting a logging crew which arranged to contact 9-1-1.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Lebanon Fire Department, Oregon Department of Forestry, Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District, Life Flight and Eugene Police Department.