Following up on an earlier post on what may be an incidental contradiction in the earlier accounts of the Kim family’s travels in Oregon on November 25:
Some news outlets, including James Kim’s employer, CNET, reported the family stopped at the Wilsonville, Oregon, Chamber of Commerce on their way south to get a map and travel directions to Gold Beach, their planned destination. The CNET story said that someone working at the chamber had warned the Kims against using the road on which they attempted to cross the Coast Range. Later, Lt. Gregg Hastings of the Oregon State Police said the Wilsonville visit never occurred. Relating an account from Kati Kim, Hastings said the family had missed their planned route, state Highway 42 (off of Interstate 5, just five or six miles south of where the Kims ate dinner, a Denny’s in Roseburg). After discovering their mistake, they consulted a map and continued south to try Bear Camp Road (the nearest I-5 exit that would have led to that route was about 60 miles south of their dinner stop).
What actually happened in Wilsonville, if anything? Earlier, I called the Wilsonville chamber, whose executive director insists that one of his tourist-info volunteers had spoken to the Kims and cautioned them against Bear Camp Road and other routes off the main highways. This morning, I finally got hold of Lt. Hastings to ask why the state police had discounted that report.
“My statement was based upon the fact I was told by our detective who interviewed Kati (Kim) that, according to the detective, they did not stop there,” Hastings said.” And we thought it was important because the Chamber of Commerce was getting several calls about this, that we should make that statement and clear that up.” Hastings added that the state police detective had interviewed Kati Kim in her hospital room (she and her two daughters were taken to Three Rivers Hospital in Grants Pass on Dec. 4 and released Dec. 5).
Mark Ottenad, the Wilsonville chamber’s executive director, suggested the Kims might not have realized they had stopped at the chamber office because signs on the facility referred to the Clackamas County Regional Visitor Information Center. Asked about that possibility, Hastings said, “I have no idea. My understanding is that they did not stop in Wilsonville.”
The Wilsonville chamber people said they had given the Kims a copy of the official state road map. I asked Hastings whether he had any certain knowledge about what map the Kims used when they chose their alternate route. “it’s the one the state of Oregon makes available to people,” Hastings said. “I’ve got three here, and in fact i’m looking at one now.” He added that he didn’t know where the Kims got their copy of the map.