Two People Killed This Afternoon While Taking Down the Pickathon Stage

The workers were in a boom lift, removing ropes fastened in the trees.

The crowd at the main stage during Pickathon 2017. IMAGE: Sam Gehrke.

Two workers tearing down the Pickathon stage this afternoon at Pendarvis Farm were killed when a boom lift tipped over.

Pickathon, the Portland area's most revered music festival, was held last weekend at the woodland property in Happy Valley. Clackamas Fire District 1 responded to a call from Pendarvis Farm this afternoon around 4:37 pm.

Capt. Brandon Paxton of Clackamas Fire tells WW that workers were using the boom lift—a piece of equipment that is similar to a cherry picker and extends to about 40 feet tall—to remove the tents that cover the main stage. (It's also called the Mt. Hood Stage.) Those tents are secured by ropes fastened to trees, which the workers were removing.

"There were two people in the basket at the time the cherry picker tipped over," Paxton says. "Tragically, both people were killed."

KGW first reported on the accident this evening.

UPDATE, 9:21 pm: The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office says the two people killed were arborists, who were attached to the boom lift while removing ropes from trees.

"The arborists had been ascending in a boom lift before climbing further up trees to get to ropes holding up the complex shade installation," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement. "They were wearing safety equipment and were roped to the boom lift, which was reportedly positioned on an incline."

Pickathon organizers could not immediately be reached for comment. The festival released a statement saying the workers were part of a crew with GuildWorks, the Portland-based designer of the fabric tents that shade the festival stages.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two members of the GuildWorks crew during breakdown of this year's festival," the Pickathon Twitter account said. "Please join us in offering up prayers and support to their families and friends during this difficult time. All involved in Pickathon are like members of a family to us. We will wrap our collective arms around all affected and share in the grieving process."

This story has been updated to more accurately describe the equipment involved.

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