For years, residents at the south end of Oceania Drive on the Bayshore, across the Alsea from Waldport, have fought Mother Nature’s sand pile that the winds blow up from the beach onto their property. It’s especially bad at the extreme south end of the Bayshore Spit. Sand piles up to the roof tops, and sometimes beyond. It’s a nightmare for those who just want a house to enjoy the beach and the ocean.
It appears that after years of talking, the neighborhood has settled on a funded plan of action to re-civilize their properties. And they’re hiring a consultant who is a legend along the coast at being a sand dune “whisperer” of sorts. Wilbur Ternyik of Florence.
County Planning Director Onno Husing says the county commission Wednesday loosened up the regulations a little bit so Ternyik and the neighbors can begin manipulating sand, fences and grass in ways that should stabilize the sand dunes on the ocean side of the homes – keeping the sand on the west side of the houses where the neighbors want it to be.
Husing says the work will begin within a month or so. At first they’ll use heavy earth moving equipment to clear out the sand that has enveloped various homes like a blanket. Once that’s done, Husing says Ternyik and the neighbors will install what are called “sand fences” that will direct where the sand builds up and to help it keep moving south along the shoreline. Helping to strengthen the sand fences will be beach grass plantings that will help firmly anchor properly sized sand dunes west of the homes.
Husing says the first phase of the work should be done by fall. And everyone will be anxious to see how “the fix” fares against a typical Oregon Coast winter. Once that’s known, Husing says they may move their attention a little farther north of the spit to some other homes who have similar sand problems, but not nearly so severe. Husing says the key is to maintain the fixes which may well take more than just passing the hat up and down Oceania which is how today’s money was raised. No taxes. Just homeowners willing to contribute. Typically what happens, is that once something beneficial is in place, the neighborhood taxes itself a little to maintain the beneficial project.
So we’ll see if the fix works and remains working due to the neighborhood stepping forward and making sure it’s properly maintained.