Two men who died at Rainbow Gathering identified

A banner welcomes people to the Rainbow Gathering on the Malheur National Forest Saturday, July 1. Two men have died so far at the gathering.

Two men have died so far at the Rainbow Gathering.

George Ernest Rogers III, 43, of Dumas, Texas, and William Pasko, 74, of Takoma Park, Maryland, are the only deaths reported so far at the annual gathering taking place this year on the Malheur National Forest, Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer said Thursday afternoon.

Rogers collapsed near a makeshift medical station at the gathering July 2, Palmer said. An emergency room doctor from Kentucky who was attending the gathering provided medical treatment, and CPR was attempted for 15-20 minutes without success.

The man’s identity was unknown, so fingerprints were sent to the Oregon State Police Identification Bureau. The FBI notified the sheriff’s office of the identity of the body late Monday evening.

To notify his family, Palmer tracked down leads from Texas, California, Alaska and Colorado. The family was notified the morning of July 5.

Palmer said he was unaware of the cause of death. Grant County Medical Examiner Dr. Raffaella Betza could not be reached for comment.

Pasko died of natural causes from a heart attack July 3, Palmer said. A doctor from California provided treatment at the gathering.

These have been the only deaths reported at the gathering so far, and Palmer said he hoped they were the last. He said, however, Forest Service officials warned bodies may be found in tents as the gathering winds down.

“They typically find a couple after the fact,” he said. “Everything they’ve told us so far has happened.”

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