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LA GRANDE — It was quiet on Mount Emily Road — the kind of peaceful silence residents look for when choosing to live in nature. Dusk was approaching but had not yet fallen over the Grande Ronde Valley.

It was a nice, cool May evening. Craig Lankford and his wife, Trina, were watching television when a commotion started outside.

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Craig Lankford - chickens

Craig Lankford holds his grandson while looking down at the family’s chicken coop on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, near La Grande. The chickens caused a commotion on a quiet night in May, alerting Lankford to a black bear that was making its way along his fence toward the chickens. 

Craig and Trina Lankford

Craig Lankford and his wife, Trina Lankford, smile for the camera in an undated photo. In May 2023, she was shocked when she received a call from her neighbor telling her that her husband had been attacked by a bear.

Craig Lankford w/bear

Craig Lankford, who was attacked by a bear near his home outside La Grande in May 2023, is shown here with a different bear he hunted. Lankford credits his experience and knowledge of the outdoors to his survival of the bear attack.

Lawson Lankford

Lawson Lankford, held by his grandfather Craig outside his house near La Grande, turns to look at the camera on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. One day when Lawson is old enough, Craig Lankford will tell him the story about how he wrestled a bear — and won.

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