By Mary Mooney

The Oregonian

Two arborists died in a boom lift accident at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley on Thursday as they helped take down shades that were strung over the grounds at the Pickathon music festival, officials said.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said the arborists were private contractors helping break down a shade installation at the festival, which ended Sunday.

Early reports indicate the victims had been in a boom lift before climbing further up trees to get to ropes holding up the installation, officials said. They were wearing safety equipment and were roped to the boom lift, which was reportedly on an incline.

When the arborists were about 40 feet off the ground, the boom lift tilted and fell, sending the victims plunging to the ground.

The medical examiner’s office says the fatalities were likely accidental. The victims’ names won’t be released until officials can contact their next of kin.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two members of the GuildWorks crew during breakdown of this year’s festival,” Pickathon organizers said in a statement. “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. Please stay connected to Pickathon as we work to provide support to the families.”

The sheriff’s office said the farm owner is cooperating with authorities and said Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials will investigate the incident.

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