LA GRANDE — The National UFO Reporting Center reported more accounts of unusual aerial phenomena in Oregon in 2019 than 2018, but accounts from Eastern Oregon almost fell out of sight.
The center in Davenport, Washington, totaled 109 reports last year of unidentified flying objects over Oregon skies, 10 more than in 2018, according to the center’s online database: http://www.nuforc.org/webreports/ndxlOR.html.
Eastern Oregon viewers generated nine reports in 2018, but in 2019 the reports dipped to five, including a July 11 sighting near North Powder.
The witness reported seeing a bright orange object morph between an orb and oblong shape over the span of three hours.
According to the report, the witness was a passenger in a car heading south on Highway 237 about 5 miles northeast of North Powder at about 9:50 p.m. on a "dark, mainly clear" night.
"Being an avid stargazer, I looked up to the sky to watch the stars pass by," the report stated. "To the southwest from the passenger's front seat I saw a strange bright orange light in the sky hovering around the moon."
The light was no star or planet, according to the account, and did not seem like any aircraft the witness was familiar with. Nor was there a jet trail or other obvious signs of propulsion.
"I began to get an uneasy feeling in my stomach," the witness stated in the report. "As I watched the object, the light elongated into an oblong shape, still showing the same orange light."
For the next 15 minutes, the object morphed “back and forth between the orb and the oblong shape.”
Clouds appeared and covered the sky where the object and moon were. Still, the object was bright enough to shine through and changed color from orange to white, according to the report, and began blinking behind the clouds like a strobe light. After 3-5 minutes, the light disappeared and the clouds dissipated.
"I continued to glance at the sky for the next few minutes and the object suddenly appeared again after about 5 minutes just as it had the first time," according to the report. "The object continued to morph back and forth between the orb and the oblong shape, shifting from side to side, while hovering."
The light stayed near the moon, and the witness reported watching it for about 45 minutes before more clouds moved in. The object repeated the change in color, the flashing and disappeared. Moments later, it was back.
Before drifting off to sleep around 12:30 a.m., the passenger reported, "I could still see the object very vividly during the event as I passed through towns and cities with their bright lights against the night sky."
The witness also reported having "technical issues with my phone" after the sighting, including the touch screen not working, apps opening themselves and the battery draining faster.
"I am thoroughly convinced I saw an extraterrestrial craft in the sky that night," the reported concluded.
But Peter Davenport is not as convinced about what the witness claimed to see. Davenport is the director of the National UFO Reporting Center, which began in 1994 in Seattle but since 2006 has operated at a decommissioned nuclear missile base about 50 miles west of Spokane, Washington. He said while the North Powder account is detailed, a light hanging out in the sky for two or three hours could well be a celestial body and not an alien spacecraft.
But he took that report because the center aims to gather as much data on UFOs in one place, he said Saturday, to help answer "the biggest scientific question mankind has ever confronted: Are we alone or not?"
The Sept. 11 night time sighting over Milton-Freewater may be more concrete. A couple outside at night reported a silent, dark triangular craft perhaps three times the length of a 747 airliner creeped low over the ground then hovered as a another triangular craft, only maybe twice as along as a jumbo jet, joined the first, and the pair moved east and out of sight.
The episode lasted 9 minutes, according to the report, and the couple was shocked and amazed at the scene and even claimed to have captured short videos of the objects on a phone camera.
Davenport also said the center serves to help hold the U.S. government accountable. The government and military have claimed UFOs are no threat. If that's the case, he said, then why not spill the beans on UFOs to the American public?
The center gets 10-50 reports a day, he said, and some are nothing more than a light in the sky. More substantial reports, however, could warrant looking into. The center doesn't handle investigations, Davenport said, but when an intriguing case comes across his radar, he reaches out to the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, which has branches in many states and conducts field investigations.
The center, in effect, serves as an open clearinghouse for UFO information and provides summaries of reports for free on its website. Making people pay for that, Davenport said, would be contrary to the center's mission.
"The information belongs to the American people," he stated.