Hundreds gather to remember boy who died in Columbia River
CLACKAMAS, Ore. - Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday to remember a 7-year-old Clackamas boy after the pickup he was riding in plunged into the Columbia River, killing him.
Jacob Arntson was riding with his 40-year-old father, John, on Interstate 84 near Mosier Monday afternoon. Their pickup slid on ice and plunged over the guardrail into the water. Jake's father got out and swam to shore, but Jake did not. Divers found Jake's body still inside the truck in about 40 feet of water.
A spontaneous memorial took shape on the baseball field at Clackamas High School where Jake's father coached the sport. When players and teachers heard about Jake's death, they just started showing up.
They stood silently in the field, and students, many 10 years older than Jake, brought trinkets, toys and a baseball with his name inscribed upon it.
"They loved him. Everybody was drawn to Jake," said assistant baseball coach Tom Bohlman. "All the high school kids out here liked to play with Jake. Jake would get into, like I said, mischief. Get into the dirt and rocks and mud and go home and Mom and Dad would have to clean him up."
Bohlman had known Jake since he was born.
Jake's principal, Khaliyah Williams-Rodriguez, at Oregon Trail Elementary, remembered him as a kid who loved reading, sports and toys.
"He's gonna be remembered by his smile, his laughter and his hard work," she said.
Williams-Rodriguez said they're planning a way for students to remember Jake. Ideas include children writing memories of Jake and putting them in a jar or planting a tree outside the school in his honor.
Jake's family released a statement that reads in part: "Jake was just 7 years old, but in those 7 years he brought so much light into our world and touched so many lives as a friend and classmate. He was a wonderful child, and we miss him so much. Jake: we love you forever."
The family said it will set up a fund in memory of Jake in the next few days.