OSU student dies after fall from Neahkahnie viewpoint

Oregon Coast

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On her Facebook page, Michelle Casey described herself as “a bubbly, friendly and dorky person who loves to make people smile.”

The 21-year-old junior at Oregon State University student died Sunday at a hospital after falling at the Neahkahnie Mountain Viewpoint area just off Highway 101 near Manzanita. A friend told KOIN 6 News she went to the coast whenever she got the chance and was taking pictures when she slipped and fell about 100 feet.

Emergency responders got a 911 call around 10:15 a.m. Sunday from her boyfriend  who said she was taking photos over the retaining wall when she fell. A tree stopped her from falling into the ocean but she was badly hurt and then airlifted to a hospital for treatment. 

Her family told KOIN 6 News she was an organ donor, a decision that saved 2 lives. (A full statement from the Casey family is at the bottom of this article.)

Casey, who graduated from Clackamas High School, worked at a Starbucks in Corvallis as she studied kinesiology at OSU. 

Michelle Casey with her boyfriend. (Family photo)

Her friend, Tyson Zagelow, told KOIN 6 News she adored her family, sang in the choir and was the definition of love and compassion.

“I just want people to basically know that she’s just the most loving person that I’ve probably ever known,” he said.

Zagelow said he saw her on Friday. “We just said hi and talked a little bit. I didn’t hear from her from the weekend.”

Michelle, he said was “the type of person that you could be driving down the road and she’ll make you roll down the windows and you’ll be blaring a song, screaming it out loud.”

It’s an understatement that she will be missed by her friends and family.

“Michelle Casey was born in joy on Christmas Eve, 1997. From that moment, she was a gift to her family. She adored her family, cats and dogs. She loved being outdoors and was at the beach—her favorite place—on Sunday. Michelle always brought people together with her bubbly personality and loving, giving heart. Always active, she held a second-degree black belt in Tae kwon do, played volleyball and beach volleyball, and loved to work out. She loved singing in choir and her Starbucks customers as a barista in both Portland and Corvallis. As a sophomore at OSU, she was working toward a degree in kinesiology because she wanted to help people. Michelle had chosen to be an organ donor, a decision that saved two lives.” — Family of Michelle Casey

They also thanked the emergency responders who rushed to help her, the doctors at Legacy Emanuel and the transplant team at Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank.

The Casey family said donations in Michelle’s honor can be made to these organizations:

Michelle Casey in an undated photo. The 21-year-old Oregon State University student died after falling at Neahkahnie Mountain Viewpoint on May 19, 2019 (Courtesy: Colleen Casey)

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