The 21st annual Yaquina Bay Lighted Boat Parade not only celebrates one of the key elements of our local economy, local commercial and recreational fishing, it also promotes the Festival of the Trees which is an annual fundraiser for Samaritan Hospital in Newport. Although the hospital has a taxing district and a revenue stream from patients along with programs supporting low income patients, the hospital holds the Festival of the Trees fundraiser to help supplement the hospital’s operating costs and makes possible capital projects like the new Medical Education Center being built immediately west of the medical campus.
But as you can see from some of the photographs of the lighted boats, it was also an opportunity for boat owners and those aboard to express their gratitude to our local Coast Guardsmen who take very seriously their motto: “Guardians of Coast.” All attention is on an upcoming court battle between the community of Newport and the Coast Guard brass in Washington DC, as well as the Department of Homeland Security. Newport seeks to force the Coast Guard to comply with the law and not close down the Newport Air Rescue Facility unless and until they justify it through a very meticulous process of studying the removal of Coast Guard assets like the rescue helo and their effects on the community. The analysis would normally take nine months but the Coast Guard brass in Washington DC decided to ignore the requirement altogether. It wound up putting the Coast Guard and their bosses at the Department of Homeland Security in court. Newport’s demand for an injunction against the base closure on December 15th will be argued in federal court in Eugene on December 11th. So it’s going to be close.