Tragic reminder about rip currents

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Jan 302016
Typical rip current Area of frothy waves going out, away from shore.

Typical rip current
Area of frothy waves going out, away from shore.

Another young life was cut short by a run of the mill rip current off a beach in Curry County. So many people from the valleys of Oregon hit the beach without knowing that death staring them in the face.

From Oregon State Police –

Ashland man dies while swimming in Pacific Ocean- Whaleshead Beach State Park in Curry County.

On Saturday at approximately 2:00 p.m. ALEXANDER HOWELL, age 23, from Ashland, was swimming in the Pacific Ocean about 75 yards from shore with a friend, ALEX SMITH, age 22, from Medford. According to witnesses, Howell indicated that he needed to go back to shore. But heavy surf and a strong rip current prevented the swimmers from getting back to the beach. Howell and Smith got separated in the rough waters. Smith managed to get back to shore where two other friends were waiting. But no one saw Howell. The group made a frantic search of the immediate area but saw no sign of him. They called 911 and commenced a bigger search of the shoreline and found Howell unresponsive on the beach. The friends performed CPR until they were relieved by emergency responders.

An OSP Patrol Sergeant from the Gold Beach Worksite responded to the scene along with local fire/EMS, Curry County Search & Rescue, US Coast Guard and Curry County Sheriff Department. Howell was transported to Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach for advanced life support. He was declared deceased at the hospital.

OSP learned that Howell attended Southern Oregon University in Ashland and is originally from Vista, California. Howell and Smith were part of a group that traveled over from the Ashland area to visit the south coast.

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 Posted by at 10:28 PM

Siletz: House fire on Siletz Highway

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Jan 302016

Siletz Fire, Pacific West Ambulance, and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office all dispatched to a report of a house fire next door to 21809 Siletz Highway. Neighbor reporting the fire says there are flames visible on the front porch of the house, and there are vehicles in the driveway. It is unknown if anyone is inside.

Water tender from Toledo and Newport requested by responding Siletz Fire engine.

Siletz Fire engine on scene advising the front half of the house is burning, and the fire attack will be defensive.

Flames on the outside have been knocked down. Firefighters are not making entry due to concerns about their water supply. The narrow, long driveway with vehicles scattered about is restricting firefighers’ abilities to establish a supply.

Water tenders from Toledo and Newport have arrived on scene. They are working to establish a water supply. A fire engine from Toledo is also responding.

lazerquick jan 2016

 Posted by at 2:15 PM

Traffic alert Hwy 20

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Jan 302016

Glen Weaver of Waldport tells NLC that there is a big semi stuck off the side of the road about three miles east of Toledo. Blocking a lane. Tow is enroute.

 Posted by at 1:52 PM

Yachats celebrates half-century of cityhood in July – Celebration volunteers wanted!

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Jan 302016
Yachats River emptying into the Pacific Ocean Ken Gagne photo

Yachats River emptying into the Pacific Ocean
Ken Gagne photo

The City of Yachats is a calling on the community for volunteers to help the town celebrate 50 years of cityhood. Yachats was officially founded in July of 1966 and today now boasts around 700 souls inhabiting within its city limits.

The city-recruited volunteers will help highlight and memorialize major events and developments in the history of the area as well as specifics following the incorporation of Yachats. Anyone who would like to volunteer on this committee can do so by simply clicking here.

Yachats has a long storied past, much of it happy, if not wholesome, as Alsea natives created 20 different communities from the ocean to up-valley and coastal mountain retreats. Archaeologists say the civilization goes back at least 1,500 years but was brought to a painful halt by the invasion of the white man.

In the 1860s, it was determined that the Coos and Umpqua tribes would have to leave their ancestral homes to make way for white settlers wanting to take over the region for homesteading and farming. The tribes were marched 80 miles to the north and forced to settle in the Yachats area. Along the way many died, including a blind tribeswoman named a Amanda – she now, today, the namesake of the local “trail of tears.” After arriving in Yachats, the natives found out out the spot was too close to the coast for growing crops. Crop yields were not enough to feed everyone. Many starved to death in the first ten years of the settlement. Two years later the natives were allowed to farm up the Yachats River Valley where they grew potatoes, oats, wheat and corn. Eventually they were allowed to resume hunting.

But once again, the ever migrating whites moved in and took over the natives’ farms and connecting trails, forcing the natives to once again leave their homes and march 40 miles to the north to an area that eventually became Siletz – now a Native American center of activity in the region.

The decades came and went and finally the town of Yachts was created in 1917. Back then it was called Oceanview, then later Yachats in honor of the natives who originally lived there.

Yachats was more firmly connected to the outside world when the region became a leading source of spruce lumber. Lots of logging in the area. Both during World War I and II. They even built a railroad to move the timber out to lumber mills.

During the second world war the military built the West Shelter Civilian Conservation Corps near the top of Cape Perpetua, and an adjoining radar station and observation tower to detect enemy submarines or aircraft in the area. Foxholes and gunnery emplacements were installed along Ocean View Drive. Army troops were housed in the local skating rink. The local ladies club was rented for recreation. At one point, the Coast Guard discovered floating mines just offshore, whereupon they towed them back out to sea and detonated them.

The Little Log Church and historical museum was built in 1926 – built in the shape of a cross – is still with us today and is a favorite tourist attraction and a center for new matrimonial celebrations year round.

Since then Yachats has come to be known as an absolutely wonderful and quaint tourist town with unrivaled coastal beauty with endless trails and byways to enjoy.

The 50th Anniversary of the found of Yachats will have lots to work with in planning the celebration later this year during the month of July.

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 Posted by at 10:44 AM

Weather or Not: Hail, Yes

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Jan 302016

Chris Burns Weather

Saturday, Jan. 30th – Lincoln County

Summary: No real pattern was apparent in yesterday’s weather. There were some nice sunbreaks, but also periods of overcast, showers, heavy rain, hail a couple of times in the stronger, darker showers, and southwest winds varying from 5 to 35 mph. You needed a full wardrobe for venturing outdoors. The thermometer reached the low-50s. The heaviest of the showers rolled through our southern section last evening producing enough hail to cover the highway; one crash near Waldport was attributed to the hail making the pavement slick. We began seeing a little change this morning as the wind veered to northwest, but there were still quite a few showers showing on radar.

Newport Airport Conditions…
Ceiling: scattered clouds @ 900′, 2,500′ and 3,300′
Visibility: 10 miles/Wind: WNW 12 G 22 mph/Pressure: 29.88”

Past 24 Hours High/Low/Gust/Rain…
Lincoln City: 54F/46F/34mph/0.19”
Depoe Bay: 52F/41F/38mph/0.32”
Newport: 52F/41F/36mph/0.20”
Waldport: 52F/44F/38mph/0.54”
Yachats: 53F/47F/34mph/0.71”

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Forecast: Unstable atmospheric conditions will be keeping us in a showery situation for the foreseeable future. WON SUN-RAINToday, tonight and tomorrow there’s a chance for additional thunderstorms along with showers possibly producing small hail. Highs 45-50F, lows near 40F or slightly below. Outlook is for a 50-50 chance of showers until Wednesday or Thursday when the next organized storm system approaches the Central Coast; details are sketchy at this point. Temperatures are expected to be seasonal with highs of 50F and lows of 40-45F all week.

Surface Rescue

Call or email George today!

Travel: In the Coast Range, there’s damp pavement, showers, patchy fog and 35F in the passes this morning; showers and possible thunderstorms today, temperatures 40-45F. Willamette Valley destinations are expecting showers, a chance of thunderstorms, the thermometer rising to about 50F. The Columbia River Gorge forecast calls for showers, light southwest winds, high of 45F. For the Cascades, highways have packed snow this morning with snow showers, temps are 25-30F, chains or traction tires are required; a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until noon today for snow accumulations in the passes of 2-5 inches, the snow level is down around 2,000 feet. Outlook for weekend travelers is mixed wet/dry pavement at the lower elevations but snow showers on the Cascade highways through Sunday night.

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Marine: Winds are W 10-15 knots this morning with square seas 13 feet at 13 seconds. A Small Craft WON SCAAdvisory for hazardous seas is in effect through tomorrow morning. W winds continue today at 10-15 knots gusting 20 and seas stay up around 13-14 feet at 13-14 seconds. Tonight and tomorrow, the breeze veers to NW 5-15 knots, occasionally gusting 20, seas subside to 11 feet at 11 seconds. Outlook is for NW winds on Monday, 15-20 knots, swells 10 feet, then we’re back to southerlies 10-15 knots, swells 8 feet Tuesday, and the next storm system brings S winds 20-30 knots and combined seas to 13 feet on Wednesday and Thursday. Always check the latest Bar Reports before you venture offshore.

On the Beach… Showers, possible thunderstorms, surf 10-12 feet (moderate).
* Stay off of jetties and offshore rocks, and be extremely watchful on rocky shores or sandy beaches. These areas may be periodically inundated by surf, especially during this afternoon’s high tide. Be aware of sneaker waves that will be significantly higher than those that precede or follow them. Never turn your back on the ocean.
* Tides
01/30 Sat 10:34 AM 2.78 L
01/30 Sat 04:25 PM 6.34 H
01/30 Sat 10:16 PM 2.54 L
01/31 Sun 04:59 AM 7.89 H

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In Short: Showers, light winds, chance of thunderstorms, then wet and breezy.

 Posted by at 7:16 AM

Highway 101 partially blocked north of Waldport due to traffic crash

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Jan 292016

Report of a non-injury crash on highway 101 near NW Sandpiper Dr just north of Waldport. Vehicle reportedly slid on the thick sheets of hail that started coming down about an hour ago and hit the guard railing, totaling the vehicle. The southbound lane of travel is blocked by the vehicle. ODOT and LCSO are responding.

LCSO deputy on scene saying it is no longer blocking the roadway, and the occupants of the vehicle are making arrangements for a tow.

 Posted by at 10:20 PM

Minimum wage in Oregon going up faster than earlier predicted

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Jan 292016
Governor Kate Brown Minimum Wage Targets

Governor Kate Brown
Minimum Wage Targets

Governor Brown Announces Change to Proposal for a Minimum Wage

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown released the following statement on her updated proposal to raise the minimum wage:

“Based on feedback from stakeholders, I have refined my proposal, beginning implementation in 2016, so workers get higher pay sooner, and extending the glide path to give businesses more time to prepare for higher wages,” said Governor Brown.

Governor Brown’s plan will call for implementation of a higher minimum wage to begin in July 2016, six months earlier than originally proposed. Statewide, minimum wage will start at $9.75 and rise to $13.25 by 2022. Inside the Portland Metro Urban Growth Boundary the minimum wage will start at $9.75 and increase to $14.50 by 2022.

After 2022, the wage can increase annually in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.

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 Posted by at 6:37 PM

Bad Traffic Crash: Major accident at Otter Crest Loop and 101

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Jan 292016

Report of a multiple vehicle accident at Otter Crest Loop and Highway 101, on the south end of Foulweather. Fire-Rescue from Depoe Bay and Newport code 3 enroute.

Two vehicles. One still on the pavement. The other down an embankment. Will require a rope rescue.
Both occupants in the “on pavement” care are conscious and alert.

All occupants are loaded into ambulances, and fire units are working on extricating an animal from the vehicle.

Animal has been retrieved from the vehicle. Newport Fire engine has left the scene, and Depoe Bay fire units and personnel will be remaining at the scene for about 45 minutes.

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 Posted by at 3:52 PM