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Washed Ashore exhibits coming to the Central Coast

Washed Ashore Presents “Art to Save the Sea.”

Artists and community organizers gather to reclaim the future and ignite powerful social change in consumer and visitor behavior.

Everyone who has seen Washed Ashore’s stunning pieces of public art made from reclaimed marine debris has wondered “How’d they do that?”


May 17th 5:30pm -7:30pm Eden Hall in Gleneden Beach and May 16th 5:30pm – 7:30pm Yachats Commons Building in Yachats. Come see the traveling 7 foot long by 5 ft high traveling art piece Bella the Angelfish on a Reef.  

    Search Eventbright “Art To Save The Sea” for additional events in Seaside, Bay City and Brookings.  Attendees of these gatherings will learn the process behind these masterpieces and see a visual presentation by John Tannous, Executive Director of Washed Ashore which explains everything. 

Over the next two years several large pieces of public art will be created and sighted in various communities on the Central and Northern Oregon Coast. Communities interested in securing such a piece of public art should attend and inquire about the siting process. 

After learning about the unique process Washed Ashore has championed, interested artists and community organizers can apply for a multi-week artist residency in Bandon to dive deeper into their process and support the creation of future pieces of public art from marine debris.

Some scholarships and living stipends are available by the generous support of the Oregon Coast Visitors Association and Travel Oregon.

Entire Event Schedule & RSVP Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/art-to-save-the-sea-discover-washed-ashore-and-do-more-tickets-60037658252

May 16th 5:30pm – 7:30pm (Yachats)  Yachats Commons Building 441 Hwy 101 N, Yachats, OR 97498

May 17th 5:30pm -7:30pm (Gleneden Beach)   Eden Hall 6675 Gleneden Beach Loop Gleneden Beach, OR 97388

Deceased whale has washed ashore near Waldport, at Patterson Park

Deceased what on the beach half mile south of Patterson State Park near Waldport

Deceased whale on the beach half mile south of Patterson State Park near Waldport
Click photo to enlarge
Ken Gagne photo

Law enforcement reports that a dead whale has washed up on the beach near Patterson Park off Highway 101, just south of Waldport. Oregon State Police troopers are enroute.

It’s apparent from Ken Gagne’s photo that it’s been in the water a long time. Anyone who can identify the species and a possible age, please email Dave@NewsLincolnCounty.com

A marine scientist checked in and said it looks like a baby Gray whale that was mauled by Killer Whales. He said the Gray whales are migrating at this time of the year with their young. And the Orcas do what they do to acquire the protein rich parts of the calves and leave the rest for scavengers. He said the slash marks are consistent with Killer Whale teeth. He said it looks like it had been in the water for about two weeks.


Update on Japanese tsunami dock that washed ashore at Agate Beach

State Parks officials got a hold of a Japanese name plate on the floating boat maintenance dock that was ripped loose from it’s dock north of Tokyo during the earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11th of last year. The dock drifted on the currents all the way to Agate Beach in Newport, coming ashore late Sunday night during a very high tide. The dock, covered with barnacles, seaweed and other sea life, is stuck in the sand a little north of Little Creek Cove off Highway 101.

Oregon state officials say the dock is not radioactive, that there is sea life aboard unique to Japanese waters, there is a concern for invasive species and they say they’re working on that and they don’t yet know what would be best to do with the 70 by 20 by 10 foot dock; either salvage it or dispose of it. If they salvage it, it could possibly be used to further strengthen either the north or south Newport Jettys. If they dispose of it, it would likely be one heck of a cut-up-and-haul-off process.

In the video you can see how there were originally two protruding steel assemblies on upper corners of the dock. The one on the right was thoroughly ripped out. The one on the left remained, but it was mangled by the tsunami’s horrific forces when it ripped through the fishing town north of Tokyo where this dock was being used for boat maintenance. Other signs of its traumatic movement is the mangled wiring and piping on the southern upper edge of the dock.

Depending on the high tides, the dock might move slightly up or down the beach over the next few days. Pictures below show the Japanese writing on a deck plate and up close views of the dock.

Remnants of a Japanese tree, smothered with critters, comes ashore at Nye Beach

A long, slow drift toward America from Far East Asia. Dr. John Chapman photos

A long, slow drift toward America from Far East Asia.
Dr. John Chapman photo

Up close and personal Dr. John Chapman

Up close and personal
Dr. John Chapman photo

Marine biologist and an expert on invasive species in the Pacific Dr. John Chapman of HMSC says the “log” that washed up on Nye Beach, just south of the turnaround, is indeed a five year cross-Pacific traveler and tsunami refugee. Chapman says it was catapulted east from the shores of Japan on that fateful day in March of 2011 when a big earthquake and tsunami smashed ashore in the Sendai Prefecture northeast of Tokyo.

And the debris keeps coming…with more invasive species to inspect, label and place in jars. The rest is just buried in the sand where it became it’s final resting place.

Here’s what HMSC’s invasive species expert Dr. Chapman told us about this latest report and find.

The tree is partially buried. The exposed parts are densely covered with the pelagic goose barnacle, Lepas (no surprise). However, I found what appears to be the introduced Asian mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis poking through the mess of Lepas here and there. I collected 13 in about 15 minutes. Very likely there are more. I will try to go back tomorrow.
Here are my pictures. The mussels are apparent in the first two photos. Most of the mussels were found by palpating the soupy covering of Lepas.

I suspect it is a tree from Asia and possibly from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. Its shape is similar to a black shore pine. I will collect wood and hope one day we can find out.

Anyone who finds unusual objects coming ashore on the Oregon Coast, (especially with Japanese writing on it!) are cordially invited to contact Dr. Chapman at his lab at the Hatfield Marine Science Center at South Beach. His number is 541-867-3258 or 541-961-3258.

Another 2011 Japanese Tsunami fishing boat comes ashore in the PNW

Prof. John Chapman from HMSC Small Japanese fishing boat from 2011 Japanese Tsunami

Prof. John Chapman
from HMSC
Small Japanese fishing boat from 2011 Japanese Tsunami

Marine debris researcher Dr. John Chapman will discuss what we’ve been learning from the recent upsurge of tsunami debris in a special lecture on Friday, June 24, 6:30 p.m. at the Oregon Coast Community College’s Lincoln City branch (3788 High School Dr.), in Room 208. Doors open at 6 p.m. The event, sponsored by the CoastWatch program, is free and open to all; a $5 donation is suggested.

Dr. Chapman is a researcher at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and courtesy assistant professor of fisheries with Oregon State University. His research focuses on aquatic biological invasions, invertebrate zoology and crustacean taxonomy.

In this public presentation, he will discuss the scientific research that has been done on tsunami debris since 2012, including what it has shown us about how non-native and potentially invasive species may be ferried across the ocean. This is a highly pertinent topic, since we have seen an increase in tsunami debris this spring. Seven “tsunami boats” have washed up on Oregon beaches recently, carrying live organisms. Dr. Chapman and CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator Fawn Custer will also provide information on how volunteers can assist by scouting for and reporting on potential Japanese tsunami marine debris.

CoastWatch, the volunteer program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, is offering Dr. Chapman’s talk as a warm-up for the Community Science Day at Otter Rock, taking place the next day (Saturday, June 25) beginning at 9 a.m. (through about 1:30 p.m.) on the shoreline north of Otter Rock. The Community Science Day is designed to introduce a range of volunteer citizen science opportunities available through projects organized by CoastWatch. Surveying for marine debris, and monitoring for tsunami debris that may be carrying non-native organisms, are two of CoastWatch’s citizen science projects.

For more information about this event, or about CoastWatch’s citizen science projects, contact Fawn Custer at (541) 270-0027, fawn@oregonshores.org.

Suspected Tsunami boat debris comes ashore, sampled and then hauled to the dump

Dr. Chapman (L) and ODFW's Curran (R)

Dr. Chapman (L) and ODFW’s Curran (R)

Boat pulled from the beach.

Boat pulled from the beach.

Boat ready for transport to a landfill where it will be buried fairly deep to prevent any escape by endangered species to the outside world.

Boat ready for transport to a landfill where it will be buried fairly deep to prevent any escape by endangered species to the outside world.
Oregon Dept. of Parks photos

Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Dr. John Chapman, an acclaimed invasive species expert, and ODFW biologist Lorne Curran, took samples of the remains of what is believed to be a Japanese fishing boat that washed ashore near Coos Bay yesterday. It’s believed to have come ashore there after a long journey across the Pacific after being dislodged from its moorage during the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. A five year journey.

An Oregon State Parks news release indicates the broken boat was made of fiberglass and metal and was 16 feet long and 9 feet wide. It provided habitat for algae, at least one live crab, some mollusks, among other sea going critters.

Dr. Chapman said it appears that it is a Japanese boat although it has western numbers on the side. He said it’s common that foreign vessels have english letters and numbers. He said he gathered a number of species usually connected with Japanese Tsunami debris. Dr. Chapman also said it appears the boat was submerged for a time before floating back up to the surface where it began its long journey across the Pacific.

Dr. Chapman said it will take at least a week to positively identify the organisms found on the boat.

The boat was quickly taken away to a landfill where it will be deeply buried which will help lessen the chance of any invasive species aboard it from escaping to the great outdoors.

More Japanese Tsunamis debris coming ashore near Bandon

Tsunami debris off Gold Beach near Bandon.  Should come ashore by morning.

Tsunami debris off Gold Beach near Bandon. Should come ashore by morning.

Derelict boat sighted off south coast near Bandon

A US Coast Guard helicopter crew spotted a portion of a boat, estimated at 25-30′ length, in the Pacific Ocean off the southern Oregon coast on March 16. After the Coast Guard attached a tracking buoy to the object March 18 and issuing a marine advisory, state and federal officials monitored it until Monday afternoon. The debris appears headed for the coastline and could reach the beach in the next 24 hours between Bandon and Cape Arago, though both the location and time are subject to change.

The craft, which could be the bow end, may have originated with the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan s east coast. If the derelict comes ashore on a sandy beach in the next day, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will contract with a local salvager to secure it, then remove it from the ocean shore. During the removal operation, the department asks beach visitors to respect the work zone and obey any temporary beach or road closures.

There’s no sign of any hazardous materials on board. Biologists with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Hatfield Marine Science Center will remove samples of plants and animals to check for potentially invasive species, and attempt to confirm the boat’s origins.

Invasive species expert Dr. John Chapman of Hatfield Marine Science Center told News Lincoln County that he’s traveling to Bandon tomorrow and will be a part of the scientific inquiry of what’s left of the small vessel. Dr. Chapman says after carefully examining the photo it looks like it was carried out to sea after the 2011 Japanese Tsunami waves pounded the east coast of Japan.

Dr. Chapman last week examined a tote box that washed up on the beach at Don Davis Park in Newport. He said he took samples of the critters that were still aboard it, logged them, then made sure that the tote was properly disposed of.

Male body washes ashore 7 miles north of Florence

coast guard logo

The body of an unidentified male has washed up on the beach about seven miles north of Florence.

The body was discovered early Saturday afternoon and reported to Oregon State Police which has launched an investigation into who the man may have been and the circumstances surrounding his death.

Two fishing boats went down off Coos Bay in mid January killing three crewmen – two from the F/V Eagle III and one from the F/V Sara Jo.

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Boat that sank mile west of the Newport jaws comes ashore at the Hallmark in Newport

Recreation fishing boat washes ashore after passengers were rescued by the Coast Guard.

Recreation fishing boat washes ashore after passengers were rescued by the Coast Guard.
Mike Lidinsky photo

The four aboard this boat who were rescue by the Coast Guard Saturday afternoon finally have their boat back. It washed up on the beach overnight in front of the Hallmark Resort Hotel on Elizabeth Street in Newport. It came in upside down which will have to be re-righted before it can be towed off the beach and to a repair facility.

The Coast Guard received a radio call for help from the four who said they were about a mile off the end of the Newport jaws and that their 24 foot pleasure craft was taking on water. The Coast Guard sent out a crew aboard a motor lifeboat and got the four safely back to land.

Must’ve come from the Far East!!!

Newport was having “a ball” this Monday morning,  A five foot floating ball, covered with fishing line cordage and sea life washed up at high tide.  From Japan??? Photo: Marvin Straus

A 5 foot ball covered with fishing net and sea life washed ashore this morning.  Marvin Straus, guitar6picker@outlook.com

Somebody failed to check out the integrity of their lines!

Mother of Skipper of the doomed Mary B II paints a different picture of her son than others gave

Wreckage of the Mary B II
Just north of the north jetty
Greg Henton photo

As the Coast Guard tries to get to the bottom of why the ill-fated fishing vessel Mary B II was obliterated by high seas just outside the Newport Jaws recently, there are differing opinions as to the command philosophy of the captain who was among the dead that washed ashore that fateful night.

Central Coast news reporter Lori Tobias has the story as published in The Oregonian. Click here, and here.

HMSC fundraiser to finish re-assembling skeleton of beached Blue Whale

Beached Blue Whale at Gold Beach in 2015
HMSC photos

Whale bones packaged for immersion in Yaquina Bay for micro-organisms to strip bones clean.

From HMSC:

For the past two-plus years, the carcass of a 78-foot blue whale that washed ashore near Gold Beach, Oregon, in November 2015 has been submerged in Yaquina Bay allowing nature to run its course by having scavengers clean the bones.

The cleansing process is nearly complete, according to researchers with the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, who hope to bring the skeleton to the surface and treat it with chemicals to get oil out of the bones. Eventually, they hope to display it for the public as an educational exhibit at the new Marine Studies Building that OSU will open in late 2019 on the Hatfield Marine Science Center campus in Newport.

There’s just one problem: Even with volunteer labor, the project will cost $125,000 that the institute does not have.

“It’s critical to get the oil out of the bones to help preserve the skeleton and keep it from becoming rancid,” said Bruce Mate, an OSU whale expert and director of the institute. “The chemicals needed are both carcinogenic and flammable, so they have to be handled carefully. They are expensive and need special recycling procedures.”

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Mate has some expertise in the process. He oversaw the graduate student preservation project of a 30-foot minke whale some 40 years ago that is hanging outside of the Guin Library at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. “It’s holding up very well,” he noted.

The blue whale project is much bigger. For starters, blue whales are the largest animals to have ever lived on Earth. A team of nearly 30 volunteers, including OSU undergraduate and graduate students, spent 10 days removing the flesh from the blue whale in 2015 – taking off about 58 tons in the process.

The bones that remain are immense – a small school bus would fit inside the whale’s mouth.

“We had sections of the vertebrae that two people together could not lift, so we had to use a small front-end loader,” Mate said. “To properly treat the bones, we’ll have to fill large livestock troughs with the chemicals and do it more or less one bone or section at a time.”

In addition to the chemicals, the researchers will need a secure place indoors to work and assemble the project. Mate said about 10 percent of the oil in a whale is in the bones.

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“In the olden days, whalers just extracted oil from the whale’s blubber – an exterior blanket of fat that also insulates whales from losing body heat,” he said. “As whales became scarcer, some whalers also rendered oil from the bones. Just setting the bones out in a dry yard to get the oil out does not work. The remaining oil in the bones needs to be extracted or they will leak over time and have a foul odor.”

A blue whale washing ashore in Oregon is very rare, Mate said. In fact, until the 2015 event, there hadn’t been a documented case of a blue whale beached in Oregon since Lewis and Clark made their very first historic journey to the coast, where they saw Native Americans salvaging edible parts from a blue whale.

“The emotional impact of seeing such a large whale alive is profound – and I’ve seen dead ones all around the world,” he said. “Many of the people around me while we worked on this dead whale occasionally broke down in tears. It was a life-changing moment for some of them. At more than 100 tons, some blue whales are the equivalent of 1,300 people in biomass.”

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Mate hopes to capture some of that impact with a display of the articulated skeleton, where it can be seen by the public. Divers have been checking on the bones, which are submerged in huge bags and tied to railroad wheels in Yaquina Bay. Most of the bones are ready for treatment, though the skull still has quite a bit of flesh to remove.

“We just need the funding,” Mate said. “The job is a big one and will require specialized equipment along with the chemicals. Unfortunately, state and federal agencies are not set up to fund this kind of work, but the educational value for the project would be immense. We know we can find volunteers for the labor effort and we’re hoping to secure some private support to get us launched.”

For more information on the Blue Whale Articulation project, contact the OSU Marine Mammal Institute at 541-867-0202.

For more info Click Here!

Science on Tap at Hatfield Marine Science Center – Tsunami Trans Ocean Travelers…

Oregon State University marine ecologist Jessica Miller examining a Northern Pacific sea star collected from the Japanese dock that washed ashore in Newport. The giant piece of debris came from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Japanese Tsunami Dock on Agate Beach
June 2013
Oregonian photo

The OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center presents: Science on Tap at Rogue Brewery, South Beach

Tsunami travellers: What have we learned from a mega-rafting event by Dr. Jessica Miller

Dr. Jessica Miller will be the featured speaker at the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Science on Tap on Wednesday, November 29, 6pm at Rogue brewery in Newport.

Dr. Miller’s talk, Tsunami travelers – what have we learned from a mega-rafting event – will describe research conducted on organisms arriving on tsunami debris from Japan, indicating a new role of plastic marine debris — the transport of non-native species across the world’s oceans.

Between 2012 and 2017, scientists documented nearly 300 species of marine animals arriving alive in North America and Hawaii on hundreds of vessels, buoys, crates, and many other objects released into the ocean by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. In a recent article in the prestigious journal Science, Dr. Miller and her co-authors suggested that expanded coastal urbanization and storm activity, which may be enhanced due to climate change, could mean that the role of marine debris as an usual vector for invasive species may be dramatically increasing.

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It was totally unexpected that coastal species from Japan would not only survive the trip through the hostile environment of the open North Pacific Ocean, but continue to survive for many years — four or more years longer than any previous observations of species found living on what are called “ocean rafts.”

HMSC’s Science on Tap is at Rogue Ale’s South Beach waterfront location, Brewer’s on the Bay, in the downstairs Board Room. Doors open at 5:15pm, and the presentation will begin at 6pm. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and early arrival is recommended. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.

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Yaquina Art Association update

Yaquina Bay Bridge  JerriLynn Woolley

Yaquina Bay Bridge
JerriLynn Woolley

There will be, for the next two weeks, a spotlight show featuring the photography of  JerriLynn Woolley, Donna McCoy and Artisan Jill Keck at the Yaquina Art Association Gallery at the foot of the Nye Beach Turnaround. JerriLynn Woolley loves being out doors and enjoying nature’s beauty.  She is most happy when she can combine her love for nature with sharing it with family and friends through photography.  Sunsets and sunrises are her favorite times of the day.  Living on the Oregon Coast has opened up many opportunities for her photography.

Donna McCoy’s spotlight show is titled, “Wrack’d Photography”.   Turning her macro lens to the plants, animals and things washed ashore in the wrack line —Donna says, “That line of stuff left by the out going tide is loaded with art!” She hopes that visitors to the gallery will be inspired to walk the wrack line and bring their camera.  She also adds, “Oh and bring a trash bag for plastics.” Donna’s photography can also be seen at the Lincoln City Artist’s Co-op as well as at the Wave gallery in Yachats.

Jill Keck of Calise Soapworks will be displaying her award winning soap and unique jewelry. Most items are ocean inspired. “I love to create functional art with soap that brings a smile,” says Jill. Her soaps are not only beautiful, but formulated with skin loving ingredients. Her jewelry ranges from whimsical holiday themes to hammered metal with upcycled bottle glass that make great gifts.

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As suspected, body found off Gleneden Beach January 7th was that of missing Salem man

CG chopper searching south end of Siletz Bay

CG chopper searching south end of Siletz Bay
Body found a week later, now identified

The body that washed up on Gleneden Beach in Lincoln County earlier this month was positively identified as a missing shrimper from Salem. Oregon State Police confirmed positive identification was made as BRIAN ANDREW MARTIN, age 56. MARTIN was reported missing December 30th to Lincoln City Police Department.

The Coast Guard and local search and rescue combed the waters of Siletz Bay for any sign of the man, but nothing turned up. Martin had been grabbing shrimp from near the Schooner Creek Bridge that crosses Highway 101 when a huge incoming King Tide swept him away. His partner said he heard somebody screaming, tried to find the source, but couldn’t.

About a week later, on January 7, at approximately 8:15 am, OSP and Depoe Bay Fire District personnel responded to a report from a citizen of a body found that washed ashore on Gleneden Beach approximately 300 yards of the Wallace Street beach access. The body of the adult male was partially clothed and had no identification.

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Toledo Artist Becky Miller continues to dazzle art lovers…

Two Worlds Becky Miller artist

Two Worlds
Becky Miller artist
No, that’s not a photograph…

Toledo Artist Becky Miller continues to dazzle her fans – those who love her work and those who don’t yet know they love her work. Miller has just released her latest painting of a most unsuspecting subject matter – Bull Kelp. She combs local beaches searching for that “big look” as only she can bring to the canvass.

Here’s Miller’s thoughts about her latest work, “Two Worlds.”

This is my latest painting, a 36″x48″ oil on canvas I have entitled “Two Worlds.” It is an expression of my fascination with the juxtaposition of two very distinct worlds here at the Oregon coast – the woods and the ocean. This painting shows kelp that is freshly washed ashore after a storm, which also blew a leaf down onto the beach from the adjacent woods. Plant life in the ocean takes on the character of water – its generous flows and curves are what attracts me to it as a subject matter. By contrast, plant life on land must be stiff and more economical in structure to survive. The relatively tiny leaf from the tree stands in stark contrast to the broad, long, winding leaves of the bull kelp on which it rests. I was also attracted to the beautiful contrast of the red and green, and blue and orange that Nature created in this scene. This painting has already found a home, but prints will be available soon.

Miller tells News Lincoln County that it has always been her plan to compile a repertoire of sea vegetation paintings for a large exhibit somewhere. But a funny thing keeps happening. They all sell, almost as fast as she can create them.

Miller has a number of her works, both ocean going as well as land dwelling displayed in the region. They’re being shown at Ozone Fine Art in Newport, just west of Mo’s Annex on the Bayfront, as well as at Pegasus Gallery in Corvallis, at 341 SW 2nd, right next to the Post Office.

You can also catch one of works hanging in the art gallery at the Pacific Maritime and Heritage Museum on Newport’s Bayfront.


Lecture at OCCC on Ocean Gyres and Plastics

Great spinning ocean gyres of the world.

Great spinning ocean gyres of the world.

Plastics washed ashore on a remote Hawaiian Beach

Plastics washed ashore on a remote Hawaiian Beach

The Oregon Coast Community College Foundation is proud to reinstate the Williams Lecture Series, a free community education lecture created to enliven public discussion, especially on controversial issues.

This year’s presentation will feature Stiv Wilson, Communications Director for the 5 Gyres Institution, which has the vision of reducing plastic pollution in the environment and eradicating it from the world’s oceans. Mr. Wilson will deliver a 40 minute presentation on his experience sailing to four of the five subtropical oceanic gyres or “garbage patches” investigating plastic pollution in our oceans as well as his recent work in the Great Lakes.  His presentation will also highlight the recent interest in tsunami debris, sharing photos and film of tsunami debris found on the 5 Gyres expedition to the Japan Tsunami Debris Field.

Wilson will show films and photos from all four of his expeditions, discuss the problem of ocean pollution around the world as well as land based solutions to stop the plastic plague.  One part educational, one part a call to action, his program will enlighten and inspire change.

Wilson will give two lectures on Friday, October 25; the first will be held at 3:00 pm at the OCCC Central Campus at 400 SE College Drive the second will be at 7:00 pm at the Newport Performing Arts Center.

Another piece of the Japanese Tsunami Dock has found a permanent home!

Another piece of the Japanese Tsunami Dock reappears in Newport - on the Bayfront @ Hatfield

Another piece of the Japanese Tsunami Dock reappears in Newport – on the Bayfront west of Hatfield

tsunami dock bayfront north endtsunami dock bayfront east sidetsunami dock bayfront backsidetsunami dock bayfront west side

That big block of concrete you see out in front of Oregon Undersea Gardens on the Bayfront is what it appears to be – another piece of the Japanese Tsunami Dock that washed ashore at Agate Beach on June 4th of last year. It was ripped away from it’s pier moorages in Misawa Japan on March 11, 2011 by a massive tsunami that followed a 8.9 richter earthquake.

The dock was sawed up into five pieces and carried away to an industrial area in Sherwood. However, a large section of the dock was returned to Newport from which was cut a portion that now sits in front of the Hatfield Marine Science Center in South Beach. This particular section on the Bayfront was awarded to business interests who wanted a portion of their own to be located prominently where many tourists will see it.

And prominent it is – lodged in the brickwork directly in front of Oregon Undersea Gardens just west of Hatfield Drive. Business owners who raised money to get a piece of the dock placed on the Bayfront said they wanted it displayed in hopes of not only attracting tourists who didn’t get to see the dock as so many tens of thousands did back in the summer of 2012, but those who did and would like another moment with it to honor the tens of thousands of Japanese men, women and children who died in the ferocious tsunami that pulverized their coastline.

In addition, there will be placed upon the dock-piece information about the fact that the Oregon Coast gets periodic tectonic-generated earthquakes, much like that which struck Japan in 2011. And they say they will post information on the dock-piece to inform locals and visitors alike which way to walk/run to higher ground right after the next “big one” hits the Oregon Coast so they are not caught by a massive tsunami that will surely follow the earthquake, much like what happened in Japan.

Most wood debris on Oregon beaches can be left alone

Piece of Japanese Torii being held for Japanese Consulate

Piece of Japanese Torii
being held for Japanese Consulate

Top of Torii

Top of Torii

Possible Japanese Tsunami Debris - But can be left alone

Possible Japanese Tsunami Debris – But can be left alone

Part of a special free-standing arch called a torii washed up in Oceanside on March 22 (see http://tinyurl.com/dy3xvta). Since then, other pieces of wood have washed ashore that have prompted more than a dozen reports to Oregon Parks and Recreation Department coast staff. These pieces of normal woody debris do not have to be reported.

The wood — small beams and other structural timbers — could be debris from buildings in Japan destroyed in the March 2011 tsunami, but they do not appear to be related to the torii found near Oceanside. Unlike the piece of the torii, which was painted and very carefully made, the rest of the woody debris is unpainted and was probably used in common, secular construction. There is no update regarding the origin of the torii; it is still being stored at a state park.

Since these other pieces of wood are untreated, and don’t contain nails or other metal fittings, they can normally be left on the shore to either decompose or join the natural driftwood piles. While many are coated with algae native to the mid-Pacific, those species do not represent a threat to Oregon’s coastal ecosystem.

Feel free to inspect and photograph these beach finds, but there’s no need to report unpainted woody debris.

Japanese Tsunami Dock Exhibit to be celebrated Sunday, March 10, at Hatfield Marine Science Center – Public Welcome!

Japanese Tsunami Dock piece Celebration and Dedication Sunday, 10am, Hatfield Marine Science Center

Japanese Tsunami Dock piece
Celebration and Dedication Sunday, 10am, Hatfield Marine Science Center

From Hatfield Marine Science Center

A new exhibit featuring a portion of a dock that washed ashore near Newport more than a year after the devastating March 2011 Tohoku, Japan, earthquake and tsunami will open on Sunday, March 10, at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

The unveiling of the tsunami awareness exhibit will begin at 2 p.m. at the center, located at 2030 Marine Science Drive in Newport, just southeast of the Highway 101 bridge. It is free and open to the public.

The opening and dedication takes place two years after a massive earthquake rattled northern Japan, triggering a tsunami that killed thousands of people. The tsunami also inundated Japan’s coastline and ripped loose at least three massive docks from the city of Misawa, one of which floated across the Pacific Ocean and washed ashore just north of Newport near Agate Beach in early June of 2012.

A slice of the dock was cut away and preserved, and will serve as an educational exhibit and memorial to the events that brought it to Oregon.

“The exhibit will be a vivid reminder that a similar earthquake and tsunami could just as easily happen here in the Pacific Northwest,” said Janet Webster, interim director of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. “The exhibit also will highlight the risk from invasive species, and detail the journey of the dock from Misawa to Newport.”

Webster said the dock has been of great interest to the public and to scientists since it arrived at Agate Beach. It drew thousands of visitors to the coast before it was cut into pieces and trucked away. The dock also captured the attention of biologists who rushed to examine the dozens of living organisms attached to the structure.

Television crews from Japan have visited the OSU center several times to follow up on the story, and the arrival of other tsunami debris up and down the coast brings another wave of attention.

Shawn Rowe, an OSU free-choice learning specialist based at Hatfield, said the exhibit provides a good opportunity to broaden public awareness about earthquakes, tsunamis, invasive species, and preparedness. It resonates with the public, he noted, because it had not occurred in recorded history.

“It was a unique confluence of circumstances that led to the dock arriving in Newport,” Rowe pointed out. “While fishing floats, logs and debris arrive on the West Coast from Asia with some regularity, rarely does a structure this large that had been anchored for years in an inlet in Japan – and thus accumulating local seaweeds and organisms – rip loose and journey across the ocean.”

The Hatfield Marine Science Center recently installed a tsunami interpretive trail beginning at the center, which highlights an evacuation route to higher ground for employees, residents and visitors to Newport’s South Beach peninsula.


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