PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – This summer, the Portland metro area has witnessed many fatal drownings, including one that claimed the life of 30-year-old Jason Karr at Frenchman’s Bar Park in Vancouver.

KOIN 6 talked to Karr’s mother, Terri Beard Karr, as she mourns her son and shares how he’s being remembered.

What was supposed to be a fun day out on the Columbia River for Karr with his best friend, and new business partner, ended in tragedy.

“They had just gotten a good contract and that’s what they were celebrating, they were out having fun after working many, many hours,” Beard Karr said.

Jason and his friend Jesse had just opened their own home service business.

Beard Karr told KOIN 6 her son was headstrong, witty and could bring a smile to anyone’s face

“He was always a good kid, he had a great big heart. If he felt somebody else needed the shirt on his back, he’d give it,” Beard Karr said.

After years of struggling to stay sober, Karr finally regained control of his life.

“He was proud of himself. He has 3 beautiful kids,” Beard Karr said.
Everything changed on July 18, when authorities say Karr fell off his paddleboard and struggled to get back on shore.

Rescue swimmers from the Vancouver Fire Department jumped in, but by the time they reached him, it was too late. Karr had already been underwater for several minutes.

Officials said he was not wearing a life vest.

“I think it hit me when they asked me if I wanted to see the body,” Beard Karr explained. “So, I went over and said my goodbyes. I knew that would be the last time I see him.”

A somber reminder to keep safety top of mind while out on the water.

“But what can you do, you got to be strong,” she said. “And I’m doing the best I can … having things around that are memories of him is probably one of the best things for me.”

Karr’s family set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of the funeral.