Probable fatal accident on North Bear Creek Road – Otis area

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Aug 182016
 

Older white Ford Ranger off North Bear Creek Road.  Driver likely deceased.

Older white Ford Ranger off North Bear Creek Road. Driver likely deceased.


10:50am – Report of a likely fatal accident that may have happened days ago. It’s near 2007 North Bear Creek Road – Otis area. Reporting party says there is someone hanging upside-down from a window in the overturned wreck.

10:57am – Arriving first responders report the vehicle is an older model white Ford Ranger. The driver appears deceased. No estimate of how long the wreck has been there.

11:05am – Confirmed deceased driver.

 Posted by at 10:50 AM

Coast Earthquake Early Warning System – giving precious seconds in warning of “the big one.”

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Aug 182016
 

Earthquake intervals going back 10,000 years.

Earthquake intervals going back 10,000 years.


Merkley and Wyden Announce Earthquake Early Warning System Grant for University of Oregon

Washington DC – Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has awarded approximately $3.7 million to six universities, including the University of Oregon, to help advance an earthquake early warning system along the West Coast. The funding announced today will help improve the “ShakeAlert” system that would give people a precious few seconds to take action before the severe shaking from an earthquake arrives.

“The Cascadia earthquake has the possibility of being the worst natural disaster in North American history and this funding will help make sure that our West Coast communities have the most up-to-date early warning system,” said Merkley. “We have to do everything we can to prepare for this potential disaster and it’s great knowing that the important work going on at the University of Oregon will help advance this system.”

“Earthquakes are deadly serious business for the West Coast, which is why it’s crucial that the University of Oregon gets the funding it needs to continue its life-saving research,” Wyden said. “This funding will move the U of O closer to creating a fully developed early warning system that could save untold numbers of lives and give our communities up and down the coast and throughout the state more time to prepare for the worst.”

The $3.7 million announced today will go to California Institute of Technology, Central Washington University, University of California, Berkley, University of Oregon, University of Washington, and University of Nevada, Reno. The USGS and its six university partners will collaborate to improve the ShakeAlert system’s sensor and telemetry infrastructure across the West Coast of the United States. ShakeAlert is a new product of the USGS Advanced National Seismic System, a federation of national and regional earthquake monitoring networks throughout the country, including networks in southern California, northern California, and the Pacific Northwest.

The USGS estimates it will cost $38.3 million in capital investment to complete the ShakeAlert system on the West Coast to the point of issuing public alerts, and $16.1 million each year to operate and maintain it. This is in addition to current support for seismic and geodetic networks.

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 Posted by at 2:15 AM

Investigation report on Lincoln City Mayor Don Williams still under wraps

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Aug 172016
 

Mayor Don Williams professing to not understand his options with regard to the release the results of a private investigation of alleged wrongdoing.

Mayor Don Williams professing to not understand his options with regard to the release of results of a private investigation of alleged wrongdoing.


Speer Hoyt private attorney Russell Poppe with a finished criminal investigation being delivered to the Lincoln City City Council as requested by the council.

Speer Hoyt private attorney Russell Poppe with a finished investigation being delivered to the Lincoln City City Council as requested by the council.

Lincoln City Mayor Don Williams decided this week to keep an investigative report, aimed at him, out of public view until he could review it. The request for the report came from the city council over allegations of wrongful behavior. They haven’t divulged what that alleged behavior entailed. City Attorney Richard Appicello read a statement written for the record by Mayor Williams’ attorney, that characterizes the report as criminal in nature.

During a short meeting of the council this week, the meeting was convened, with investigator at the podium who was prepared to read his report in full. Mayor Don Williams complained that he had not seen the report and so did not want the report read before the TV cameras that routinely record and then later playback the meetings for the public to observe.

As you will see in the video of the short meeting, the Mayor appears to be somewhat aghast at what was going on – he goes back and forth over whether to release the report to the public – then decides against releasing the report. At that point an Executive Session (private meeting) was called with the private investigator and the full council to review the contents of the report. There have been no public announcements as to what was discussed behind closed doors at the north end of the building, away from the TV cameras.

There has been no speculation by city staff or city councilors as to what the next step will be on the issue.

Here is the video of this week’s first discussions about a report following an investigation of Mayor Don Williams. Drag the video cursor to 4-minutes 50 seconds where the meeting formally begins. Click here.

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 Posted by at 7:35 PM

A poem from Ken Gagne…on his first glimpse of Yachats in 1980

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Aug 172016
 
Ken Gagne photo

Ken Gagne photo

“Yachats on the Oregon Coast”

The part of my life I’ve enjoyed the most
was moving to Yachats on the Oregon Coast
Crabbing and fishing and walking the beach
everything seemed so close to my reach
The pounding surf, the gulls so white
the moons reflection on the ocean at night
All of a sudden it became very clear
that with all of this beauty “God” must be near
I tip my hat and I give this toast
to the wonders of Yachats on the Oregon Coast.

-Ken Gagne
1980

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 Posted by at 5:15 PM

Come help celebrate the birthday of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse!

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Aug 172016
 

Yaquina Head Lighthouse Greg Hinton photo

Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Greg Hinton photo


Yaquina Head Lighthouse is Turning 143 Years Old!

Oregon’s tallest and second longest continually operating lighthouse will be celebrating a birthday this Saturday, August 20th. The lamp of the historic Yaquina Head lighthouse was first lit on August 20, 1873. From that day forward, it has stood as a beacon in the night, watching over ships as they travel along the Oregon Coast.

In celebration of the lighthouse’s 143rd birthday, special events and activities will be available on Saturday, August 20th from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Interpretive Center at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area.

* Take a picture with a lighthouse keeper.
* Make a lighthouse birthday button.
* Leave a message for the lighthouse in a birthday card.
* Sing “Happy Birthday” and enjoy a bit of birthday cake at 1:00 p.m.
* Participate in other games and activities around the Interpretive Center.

Summertime in the park also offers many other fun experiences for the whole family. Harbor seals and gray whales are often seen near the offshore rocks of the headland. Cobble Beach contains fantastic tidepools to explore at low tide. Hiking trails and viewpoints throughout the park provide stunning views of the ocean and coastline.

The park entrance fee is $7.00/vehicle for a 3-Day Pass. Other passes accepted and issued at Yaquina include the Yaquina Head Annual, Oregon Pacific Coast Passport 5-Day and Annual Passes, and the Federal Annual, Senior/Golden Age, Military, Access, Volunteer, and Every Kid in a Park Passes.

During the summer, the Interpretive Center is open daily 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. All other areas of the park will be open from 7:00 a.m. to sunset, seven days a week. For more information about Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area contact the BLM at (541) 574-3100. Additional info is available at: http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/yaquina

 Posted by at 2:56 PM

Single vehicle accident, Highway 18 mile post 8

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Aug 162016
 

4:12pm North Lincoln Fire crews are enroute to a report of a single vehicle crash off Highway 18, 7 to 8 miles east of Highway 101. Unknown if there are any injuries.

 Posted by at 4:15 PM

HIGH levels of E Coli in Devils Lake at Thompson and Rock Creeks

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Aug 162016
 

The Devils Lake Water District has just issued data that shows potentially dangerous high levels of E Coli at Thompson and Rock Creek test sites. Last year, two children playing in a pond up Highway 18 came down with E Coli poisoning. One lived. One died.

We’re still trying to get information on what the sampling means for our kids who may be swimming in Devil’s Lake. Here is the district’s water sample report showing high levels of E Coli at Thompson and Rock Creeks.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 12.23.36 PM

Again, note the high levels of E Coli associated with Thompson and Rock Creeks and keep them in mind as you read the following information.

This post originally appeared on the personal blog of University of Minnesota associate professor of biosciences Timothy Johnson, Ph.D. Johnson’s research at the U of M College of Veterinary Medicine includes investigations into antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens, microbial communities in the animal gastrointestinal tract, and multi-drug resistance of E. coli and Salmonella in both humans and animals.

If you follow the local news, or have children that love swimming, you have probably noticed an increasing number of beaches in Minnesota closed recently due to high E. coli levels. Just in Minneapolis, Lake Hiawatha Beach and Lake Calhoun’s Thomas and 32nd Street beaches were recently closed in response to high E. coli counts in the water. The simple phrase “E. coli” strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who has ever experienced gastrointestinal distress. However, it is important to understand what E. coli actually is and what “high E. coli levels” actually means to our lakes.

What is E. coli? E. coli stands for Escherichia coli. This is the formal name for a species of bacteria in honor of the German-Austrian physician Theodor Escherich, who first identified the bacteria associated with digestion in infants. Here are the important take-home messages about E. coli:

1. We all carry about 1,000,000 E. coli cells per gram of feces in our guts. That’s right, over 1 million E. coli per gram of poop! If you are healthy, none of these E. coli are capable of causing gastrointestinal illness. In fact, gastrointestinal disease (i.e., diarrhea) due to E. coli is extremely rare in the U.S. and other industrialized countries. We tend to think of E. coli as bad because of the popular press, but in actuality these are important components of a healthy gut in animals (including us).

2. We are not the only animals that carry E. coli. Nearly every mammal and bird carries E. coli. And, there are many different “flavors” of E. coli. Some can colonize birds, some can colonize humans, some can colonize pigs, some can colonize cattle, and some can colonize all of these animals. So, one E. coli certainly does not equal all.

3. Fecal coliform and E. coli counts do not necessarily mean that pathogens capable of causing disease are in the water. It is very important to understand what “high E. coli levels” means when they are found in lakes. E. coli levels are established, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, through testing of water samples from Minnesota beaches. They take these samples and perform culturing of the samples to determine how many E. coli are present in 100 mL of water (100 mL is slightly more than 3 ounces of water). Over a 30-day period, the number of E. coli cells should not exceed 200 per 100 mL of water, on average. Also, no single sample should ever exceed 1,000 E. coli cells per 100 mL of water. If these criteria are exceeded, then closure of a beach is recommended until the numbers of E. coli go down. Remember, these are generic counts of E. coli cells in the water. The actual source of these E. coli are unknown. In fact, they likely originate from a multitude of possible sources, including human waste, bird droppings, agricultural run-off, or even naturally occurring E. coli present in the soil. In short, an E. coli count of 1,000 cells per 100 mL doe not means that there are 1,000 E. coli cells that can make you sick per 100 mL of water. It is actually quite likely that none of these E. coli will make you sick. The reason that the department of health uses these criteria is based on the likelihood of pathogens (not just E. coli, but other pathogens as well) being present in the water based on the counts of E. coli as an “indicator organism.” This is a very conservative approach to estimate the possibility that pathogens are in the lake water.

4. What about the E. coli that can cause disease? So let’s assume that the lake we are going to swim at does harbor some pathogenic E. coli or other pathogen. We have to consider something called “infectious dose,” or how many cells of the pathogen it actually takes to make you ill. Remember, I said before that at best, a small fraction of the E. coli present in lake water will actually be capable of causing disease in humans. The only way it can make you sick is through oral ingestion (the infamous fecal-oral route). And, for healthy humans, the infectious dose of E. coli (only the ones able to cause disease) needs to be in the range of 100-10,000 cells. And, you can ingest these bacteria even if you don’t drink the lake water. However, typically in order to acquire enough of the pathogenic bacteria you would have to swallow water, in my opinion. If you have young kids, you know all about swallowing water. Yes, it happens.

So why should I be worried? There really shouldn’t be any cause for major alarm when these alerts go out. The department of health is looking out for your best interests, with good reason, to prevent the occurrence of disease acquired through swimming. I am not recommending that you do not heed their warnings! These warnings are established, like I said, through a conservative approach to ensure that you don’t get sick when you swim. In my opinion, most of these alerts are likely benign, and only a small percentage of “high E. coli level” lakes actually contain pathogens capable of causing human disease. However, I am not willing to play the pathogen lottery with my kids or my family, and I wouldn’t recommend that anyone do that. Until we have better and cheaper ways to measure pathogens in lake water, this is the best we have and it is in place for a reason. But there is no reason to panic. Like I said before, these E. coli can arise for a lot of different reasons, they don’t always correlate with microbes that can make you sick, and they will go down over time. So, my advice? Pick a different lake this week, and don’t hesitate to return to your favorite lake when the alert subsides!

 Posted by at 2:44 PM

The “Saga” ends on the beach

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Aug 162016
 

The sailing career of the "Saga" was ended on the beach in Newport this morning.  Karen Dichari photo

The sailing career of the “Saga” was ended on the beach in Newport this morning.
Karen Dichari photo


Yet another wrong turn at night by young mariners who didn’t know how to read harbor entrance markers into Yaquina Bay proved fatal for their 25 foot sailboat. The two were rescued by Newport Fire-Rescue but their craft’s keel settled too deep into the sand symbolically digging its own grave. The tide simply didn’t rise high enough to lift it up to where it could sail out to deeper waters.

So the only thing left to do was to call in the guys with the big machinery to yank the Saga out of the sand, and haul it off which they did this morning.

It was yet another in a long history of missed shots at the jaws that ended sadly for sailing mariners, including fishing vessels that go aground on the north side of the north jetty and either outright sink, get obliterated by the waves against the rocks or get stuck fatally on the sand.

Photographer Greg Henton recorded the fate of the Saga this morning.

The Saga's sad ending.  Keel stuck too deep for the tide to lift and save her...

The Saga’s sad ending. Keel stuck too deep for the tide to lift and save her…


Unceremonious end to another otherwise pleasurable mode of seagoing transportation

Unceremonious end to another otherwise pleasurable mode of seagoing transportation


Nye Beach turn-around was closed just long enough to remove the remnants...

Nye Beach turn-around was closed just long enough to remove the remnants…
Greg Henton photos

 Posted by at 11:31 AM

Newport City Council – Still trying to find first gear on building affordable housing

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Aug 162016
 

Affordable housing being built... WhiteCenterNow.com photo

Affordable housing being built…
WhiteCenterNow.com photo

Low income apartments Courtesy photo

Low income apartments, traditional wood frame design
Courtesy photo

Local governments continue to try to figure out how to ease the country’s mind-numbing tightening of the housing market.

The Newport City Council, and their counterparts with Lincoln City and the Lincoln County Commission are still struggling to reach out to each other to try to figure a way forward, together, to pool resources, target which lots are owned by government agencies or non-profits and how to finance affordable homes to build on them. Due to a lack of federal or state subsidies, it’s a long slog.

At the Newport City Council meeting Monday night, councilors were STILL smarting from what they called heavy handedness in the way a Portland affordable housing group worked behind the scenes and then asked the council to go along with building affordable housing at Don Davis Park – a beautiful vista area that carries an iconic attraction for tourists as well as locals. When that got out, the roar of anger could be heard from one end of Newport to the other, and the mushroom cloud of protest was visible even farther away than THAT. It prompted the council to all but cancel their agreement with the Portland affordable housing entity called “Proud Ground” with whom they had contracted to form an affordable housing strategy for Newport. Newport financially cut back its contributions to the program and threatened to end all discussions with them on how Newport should provide affordable housing for its citizens.

But cooler heads prevailed Monday night. After a long and involved plea from a Proud Ground staffer that Newport remain in the partnership, councilors eventually voted “yes.” But in so doing they demanded clearer communications and transparency as a condition for staying involved for the long haul.

At the other end of the scale city staffers offered a list of ten talking points about how to gain some traction at attracting developers that know how to provide affordable housing. Staff recommended a lot of what has been suggested before: Offering up surplus city owned land to build on as well as flipping tax foreclosures. Offering developers breaks on system development fees, property tax reductions, construction density incentives, less costly street designs, access to federal funds and tax exemptions for multi-unit housing, among others. The councilors said they’ll carefully consider the list and provide their thought’s and “preferences” at the next city council meeting.

So this is the way the council left it. They’ll remain in the consortium with Lincoln County and Lincoln City and in so doing they’ll pay their past due membership fees but will withhold them for fiscal year 2017-18 if they don’t see what they consider adequate return on the city’s investment – the third and final $30,000 annual investment in the program.

On another front, there are new developments in alternative housing that are catching on across the country – steel frame homes that pencil out at just 35% of the cost of wood frame homes. They can be stacked 7 stories high for apartment buildings or one, two or three stories high for regular homes. And they meet all state building codes. Multi-units of this new technology are being built by the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority based in Lagrande. Affordable housing, for sale or for rent, doesn’t have to be so small because they’re not conventionally-built wood frame structures. They cost a lot less. And because they’re made of steel, they can ride out just about any earthquake.

Here’s a website that the council, and anyone else can review, to see how this new technology, with a 65% cost savings over wood frame dwellings, can produce for any community. www.SunshineNetwork.us is based in Oregon and they are building that affordable housing in Lagrande. It is but one company among many others across the country that are trying to transform what Americans consider affordable housing. These companies are fast at work to help change expectations of what is not only acceptable as inexpensive housing, but they’re also going after the upper-scale housing market as well, keeping in mind that such homes cost just 35% of wood frame retail.

True, the technology is new but it is adaptable and just as susceptible to rapid improvements as market demand rises. These and other affordable home developments can help any city council or county commission crawl out of their “housing box” that is expensive on its face and far more complex to build than it needs to be.

Obviously to be continued.

 Posted by at 3:17 AM