Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Curry County Oregon’

We’ve had two whopper storms to kick off the winter rainy season.

The first, October 25, brought sheeting rain, unbelievable wind and waves. The Port of Port Orford, which we visited in the morning, had, by afternoon, sustained heavy damage, in the end estimated at over $1 million.

The Port 10/25 courtesy of Melissa Campbell

The Port 10/25
courtesy of Melissa Campbell

No people or fishing vessels were lost but a fish processing building went over the edge taking numerous fish storage tanks along, the Port office had 18” of water, waves topped the rock jetty damaging it, and one side of Griff’s, a seafood restaurant on the dock, was pushed out.

Griff's, two days later

Griff’s, two days later

Port, 10/28

Port, 10/28

The surf was amazing, totally covering the port beach and the wind was so strong our 10-year-old grandson had to run to stay in place at the overlook. The pelicans and seagulls came onshore en masse and hunkered down to wait it out on the headlands.

pelicans

pelicans

Gulls and Pelicans

Gulls and Pelicans

The second storm, which hit Port Orford Friday managed to tip over half a trailer home on Highway 101 just where it enters Port Orford from the south. (I guess those high profile vehicle warnings on the weather went unheard or were ignored. They were predicting 70 mph gusts!) The wind and rain was hard enough to wake me up Friday night but by Saturday all was just a passing memory.

Today, the sun is shining. And the streets are dry. No one can say the weather around here isn’t dramatic.

blown over trailer house

blown over trailer house

Read Full Post »

Gorse Removal in BSNA courtesy of oregonlive

Gorse Removal in BSNA
courtesy of oregonlive

Bandon Biota/State Park Land Swap: Well, it happened. The State Parks Commission in their April meeting said Yes, 4 to 2. Grant County, which had said they really didn’t want a park in their territory, led to a suspension of land acquisition originally slated to be part of the greater deal and those monies ($2.4 million) will be set aside for “future acquisition” of park lands. The 2 Nays weren’t comfortable setting aside such a large amount of money without specified acquisition lands. Now it’s up to the Bureau of Land Management (the original “owner”) to agree to changes in the original land exchange to the state regarding public use of the area forever. I imagine they’ll say yes.

In summary the vote agrees that Bandon Biota (the golf course developer) will:

  • Convey two properties to in the Bandon area into the state park system totaling 208 acres.
  • Contribute $300,000 to help combat an invasive plant (gorse) on nearby state park properties.
  • Pay $2.5 million into an escrow account to fund future acquisition of state park property.
  • Offer access to property to move the Oregon Coast Trail north of Bandon off a county road.
  • Contribute $450,000 as match for a federal grant to acquire 11 acres of coast property in Lincoln County known as Whale Cove (this contribution was made before the commission acted and was not contingent on commission approval of the larger exchange).

Wand to know more? See: http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/pages/commission-bandon.aspx

Future Pacific Gales Clubhouse Site courtesy of Alysha Beck

Future Pacific Gales Clubhouse Site
courtesy of Alysha Beck

Pacific Gales: Yet another golf course proposal, this time at the end of Knapp Road just north of Port Orford. After the Curry County Land Use Commission approved a conditional (not exclusive farming) land use for the proposed area, the Oregon Coastal Alliance appealed the decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals. The proposal was withdrawn and re-worked to address the appeals’ concerns, and was put before the Planning Commission on Thursday, Sept. 11. No decisions were made at that meeting and more meetings on the revised proposal are in the offing.

The developers remain confident, feeling they have broad community support. To quote Jim Haley, managing partner of the development company, ““I’ve been messing around this place a long time,” he said.  “I’m not quitting. I’m going to win.”

Here’s what was re-submitted to the Planning Commission:
http://www.co.curry.or.us/Departments/Public-Services/Planning-Commission

Read Full Post »

The Cape Blanco First Annual Country Music Festival

Langlois Market Prepares

Langlois Market Prepares

I took a little trip up Cape Blanco Road just before it  began (mid-August) to see first hand what this music festival had in mind. They claimed 15.000 people were going to be involved. I saw the beginnings of the stage construction and a bunch of little red flags to show the rows marked out for RVs in the sheep pastures. Really, not much else.

You know you're there when you see this

You Know You’re There When You See This

As one who was around for Woodstock, I expected the worst. The Whole of Curry County (that’s including Brookings and Gold Beach) is only 22,000+. So, the organizers expected to add about 75% extra to our area for three days. I could only think: sanitation (not enough), water (ditto), beers (too many) and brawls (ditto), ground fires for warming up (It was Cold) going crazy, igniting across the gorse. Another Port Orford/Bandon disaster. As in burning to the ground.

You know what? Nothing of note occurred in Port Orford (we are about six miles south). I guess more folks got drinking water and beer at Ray’s but honestly, there was no noticeable increase in traffic on 101, even if Ray’s aisles were blocked in with cases of brew. Other than that? Well some vendors told me it wasn’t perfect, and I can imagine the gale force winds were a surprise for many. But, for us townies it was as a passing breeze. I’m still not really convinced that there were 15,000 folks around that weekend. But that’s just me.

At the Port Orford Ray's Supermarket

At the Port Orford Ray’s Supermarket

Read Full Post »

When I was a teenager I lived in northern New Jersey. My friends and I eagerly awaited the arrival of Seventeen’s August issue to tell us what it was we should covet for our new school wardrobe. In 1969, my classmate Gay Hubert was on the cover. Notice she’s all bundled up. Hat, scarf,coat, skirt, the works. It was the stuff dreams were made of. Of course generally the first day of school’s temperatures hovered around 80°. Still, we were happy to envision ourselves in kilts and shetland sweaters.

Gay Hubert 1969

Gay Hubert 1969

Going back to school was monumental at sixteen, exciting as well as nerve-wracking. Would I like my teachers? (Generally.) Would I feel over my head? (Usually.) How much would I have forgotten of French conjugations? (Too much.) Would I be chosen for the yearbook staff? (Yes!) Would the guy I had a crush on finally notice? (Nope.)

Barn Swallows

Barn Swallows

Now I measure Septembers by changing leaves, cooler nights. Barn swallows are flocking and heading south. There is an over-richness to the fields, gone rank with asters and Queen Anne’s lace. The late-afternoon light shines at a different angle on the kitchen sink as I prepare dinner. Soup sounds more appealing. The dragonflies are slower, larger, lazier. The lake is low. Fawns have lost their spots; parents are working the velvet off their antlers.

On vacation route Hwy. 101, our main street, enormous RVs, the size of Greyhound buses or larger, lumber along with Jeeps in tow, retirees turning out after the family crowds have diminished. It feels a lull time, a pause as seasons change, full of endings, full of promise.

First Leaves Change, Port Orford © SR Euston

First Leaves Change, Port Orford © SR Euston

Read Full Post »

Wondering what that outsized filling-station-looking tank is on the west side the Seacoast Center parking lot? It’s another sign of Port Orford’s exciting movement forward as a community—we’ve now got our very own electric vehicle charging station!

This station has been provided compliments of Oregon Department of Transportation, and there’s only one more station to go in Brookings to make it possible to drive an electric vehicle (EV) along the entire Oregon US 101 Coast! This is great news and a potential major new attraction for folks to visit our deep south coast. And for now, it’s fast and free!

Thanks to ODOT, the US Department of Energy and Oregon’s Chief EV Officer Ashley Horvat. It’s been a long time in the making but now you can travel EV along the entire length of I-5 in Oregon. And soon, along the coast as well.

Here are some pictures:IMG_2487

IMG_2484

Read Full Post »

It’s fascinating the news you hear if you’ve been away for six months from your small town home.

Since returning I’ve approached friends and say “So what’s new?” Usually the initial response is something like “same old, same old.” But give people a moment and they remember all sorts of things: from the failed mayoral recall (and yes it did cost the City A Lot! of money we don’t have to spare) to the new bike shop, a new kayak to a new home. People got married; other people died. Oh and the renovated hardware store isn’t open yet; maybe for the 4th. The Friends of the Library won’t field an entry in this year’s 4th of July parade. But they’ve got a bunch of American flags to sell and wave at those who are. Sort of everything you’d expect in Port Orford.

For me, the most visually stunning change is to the facade of an old falling down building in our “downtown”, that’s condemned but no one seems able to figure out how to get it torn down. Through the grape vine I heard local Main Street folks decided to at least paint a giant mural on plywood tacked to the front of the building.

I was told the mural was loosely based on the “dazzle” or “razzle dazzle” patterns used on English and American ships in the two World Wars. As an alternative from standard “hiding” camouflage, this method was thought to disrupt visual range finders on enemy ships. It wasn’t ever proven to really work but the method created some pretty amazing looking ships like this:6a00d834543b6069e20133f555e069970b

Here’s an artist’s rendering of another pattern, this one in color.Dazzle_camo

 

Perhaps this is what inspired our new downtown mural. While it doesn’t hide the building, it certainly updates the facade. And it can break up passing drivers’ concentration pretty well too.

 

our new mural

our new mural

mural close-up

mural close-up

 

Read Full Post »

Last week we got news of yet another golf course development project slated for the South Coast. In addition to the “almost done deal” which is the state parks land swap, now there’s another course on the drawing board just north of my little hamlet, Port Orford. It’s to be placed on private land on a lonely stretch of coastal cliff just north of town, overlooking the mouth of Elk River, and across the Sixes to Cape Blanco to the north. Less than ten miles east  of its mouth, the Elk is designated “wild and scenic” and fishermen have pulled salmon from its clear, pristine waters for hundreds of years. Currently the developers of the property, who have old ties with the mega-Bandon Dunes Resort development, hope to have it open by 2016.

I’ve asked “How many are too many golf courses? and received the reply, “If you don’t golf what’s it to you?” Well…it seems to me kind of like office buildings. I don’t need one, yet it appears nobody ever asks how many are too many of those until there are. The jobs offered besides short-term construction are mostly in the service sector. I know that any job is a good job around here; times are tough. I know some say Bandon Dunes has brought opportunity and prosperity to Bandon and that may be true. (Although after yesterday’s emptiness in the downtown shopping area which should be bustling this time of year I wonder.)

But here in Port Orford, we don’t even have Bandon’s three plus blocks of tourist attractions. We’ve got a couple of very nice restaurants, a few excellent galleries, two banks, a grocery store, a great library, and an interesting, small fishing port. As of now we don’t even have our True Value Hardware Store anymore. I’m not sure what visitors will think besides “What the heck do they do around here?” (Hint: It’s not golfing; it costs too much.)

On the bright side, the new course is named Pacific Gales. They sure have gotten the area’s weather right.

HERE’S A BRIEF SLIDESHOW OF OUR ELK RIVER and CAPE BLANCO

All Photos © SR Euston

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Sunday morning I drove into our local Ray’s Food Place parking lot. There in Bill’s familiar parking spot, instead of the old black beater Datsun pickup, I saw, clustered around a upturned plastic milk carton, bouquets, potted chrysanthemums, a candle, a stuffed bear. And a sign: In Memory of Bill. Uh oh, I thought.

Inside a clerk confirmed my fears. Bill had had an accident Saturday, apparently the result of a massive stroke, and died behind the wheel.

Two other memorials had also sprung up around town, one  where he died near the school, the other in his newest parking lot hang-out “downtown.”

When I first saw Bill, just sitting in his truck in the grocery’s lot, I must say I wasn’t sure what to make of him. His truck had definitely seen better days, his clothes were well used. But as I saw him there day after day, reading a magazine or shooting the breeze with whoever happened by I began to see he was a regular, a fixture, another small town character in a town filled with them. He liked our dog and would give her a shout-out every time we walked past. Once in Ray’s meat, dairy, soda, and snacks aisle (yes this is a small town mainstay—our full service grocery store) we chatted a moment and he invited us to his church’s pie social.

In these days when this crazy world seems to have lost touch with the idea of basic human kindness, Bill’s small town memorials are truly touching. The tributes may not be in standard locations, but they’re where we’ll always remember him.

Read Full Post »

Last Saturday here in Port Orford we had the first winter storm of the year…on September 28 and 29.

With hazardous sea and high surf warnings (up to 24 foot breakers) we brought in the plastic lawn chairs and checked the windows and gutters. Sheltered behind the hill to our south, we watched the windswept pines flail and the rain come down in sheets.

Port Orford hoist courtesy of enjoyportorford.com

Port Orford hoist
courtesy of enjoyportorford.com

On Sunday afternoon  we decided to venture out to the port overlook to take a look. There next to the “dolly dock” (where giant hoists lift and lower boats in and out of the water, one of only two in the US) the big story of the first storm was unfolding.

Star of Siam photo provided by Emma Jones

Star of Siam
photo provided by Emma Jones

Bobbing in the port’s open water but jetty-protected harbor, a sail boat appeared to be almost foundering, not quite flipped totally by the successive waves of breakers. Later it was reported the ship was on a run from San Diego to the Columbia River, had run low on fuel, headed into port and decided to weather out the storm there. Although we couldn’t see them, the boat was anchored and, in an attempt to keep it straight, was also attached by ropes to the jetty. The crew of two had left the vessel Saturday night via inflatable raft which was hoisted by crane to safety.

The Star of Siam was not so lucky. Late Saturday night the 36 foot boat had broken its rudder at low tide. The ship managed to stay afloat until 6:00 pm Sunday night when a combination of weather and current changes caused the sailing ship to break its ties and drift toward shore where it went aground on the jetty rocks below the port office.

We got 3.62” of rain according to the gauge near the beach. Wind gusts of 64 mph were reported at Cape Blanco to the north. Many other Oregon locales reported record September rainfall. Most impressive was Astoria’s record-breaker, 10.25 inches, remarkably up from September’s average 2.14 inches and significantly beating out its previous 1906 September record of 8.66 inches.

Star of Siam photo provided by Emma Jones

Star of Siam
photo provided by Emma Jones

Here in Port Orford by Tuesday afternoon all remnants of the Star were gone, hauled away by a local contractor. And the sky and the ocean are again beautiful, calm, serenely blue.

Port of Port Orford circa 1910 courtesy of earth-sea imagery

Port of Port Orford circa 1910
courtesy of earth-sea imagery

Read Full Post »

New River ACEC

New River ACEC

We’ve visited the New River (a river which runs north behind the foredunes and tidal zone along about ten miles of the Coos/Curry coast) many times before, both at Floras Lake near where the river begins and at Storm Ranch about five miles north.

Recently we decided to try the other two entrances to this 1100 acre Bureau of Land Management Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). The New River area has been set aside because of its biodiversity. (It includes sand dunes, pine forest, wetlands, meadows and shrubland as well as an abandoned cranberry bog!) Portions of the foredunes are off limits from March 15 through September 15 to protect nesting snowy plovers. We’ve spotted bald and golden eagles, Aleutian cackling geese, terns and otters.

This time we took the Lost Lake Trail which is accessed just south of Bandon in Laurel Grove. The trail leads to a quiet small lake dotted with lilies and snags and in shallow areas, contains a wetland. The lake is edged with spruce. Beyond the lake the trail continues through steep dunes to the New River.

The second trail we followed was a short one (only one-quarter mile), on the northern side of Four Mile Creek. It passes among large beach homes, through a shrubby archway and a meadow, covered in yellow composites. In winter this can often turn to an impassible wetland. There are huge pieces of redwood driftwood on the eastern side of the river at Four Mile Creek. Perhaps they were stranded when the New River was formed after the Great Flood of 1890.

There are many freshwater lakes separated from the ocean by foredunes and a steep beach around here. Most are the result of migrating sand dunes which close off creeks or valleys, impounding and collecting fresh water behind them. While fairly common on the southern coast, it is always a surprise to come on a lake from whose shore I can hear and often see the ocean.

ALONG THE NEW RIVER

© SR Euston

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »