Last week, WW examined the large number of bodies hauled from the Willamette and Columbia rivers, and the police tasked with recovering them ("Dead in the Water," WW, Sept. 13). Here's what readers said.

Chris Elliott, via "An enormous thank you to the first responders who deal with these life-and-death scenarios every day. I doubt the general public truly understands the mental and emotional toll, dealing with daily death, that is taken on these people. Every one of them is a hero in their own way."

Gary Figueroa, via "While Natalie O'Neill's moving article was stirring and its content warning appropriate, it was the Novick quote that sets me off. When I read the caption declaring that 'suicide is largely a matter of convenience' my heart sank. Can you imagine the torment any person must be undergoing prior to their act to take their own life? Suicide is far from convenient."

Proteus_Marius, via Reddit: "Now I wonder how Portland's rivers would compare to the East River or the Hudson."

Robert Petty, via "It's a shame Oregon has paid less and less attention to mental/emotional illness over the last 40 years or so. We also seem to have a serious lack of early intervention."

Azure, via "And yet, the Big Float encourages people to swim in the Willamette. I'm confused: How are we supposed to know where exactly the currents are strong enough to make swimming dangerous?"

Heather Novickis, via Facebook: "My friend Alfonso Cotton disappeared a few years back. His wallet was found floating near the Burnside Bridge. The police suspected suicide. I wish we had closure. I wish he had reached out when things went bad. I miss him."

Dennis Verlo LaPrade, via Facebook: "This is the Willamette Week that I know and love, such a sad article about something we don't hear about. Thank you for bringing this to attention."

Alexa Banta, via Facebook: "This guy [Multnomah County River Patrol Sgt. Steven Dangler] should talk in high school to kids about his experiences and photos. Maybe the teenagers will think more about drinking or smoking weed while playing in the rivers like they do in High Rocks."

Fayren Chang, via Facebook: "This is so very sad. Thank you all who help the victims' families find closure. To those thinking of suicide, please reach out; please! It gets better, it does, you are loved."

Cindy Hines, via Facebook: "Put up barriers. They work."


Due to an editor's error, last week's cover story misidentified a body of water in Austin, Texas. It is Lady Bird Lake, not Lake Charles. WW regrets the error.

Letters to the editor must include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210. Email: