WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Seal Rock-Waldport-Yachats: Trying to pump up tourism…

Waldport, OR

Waldport, OR

Yachats, OR

Yachats, OR

Both Newport and Lincoln City have hotel and motel room taxes that contribute handsomely to their tourism advertising budgets. But in south Lincoln County….not so much.

The communities of Seal Rock, Waldport and Yachats offer what many claim to be more rugged and dramatically beautiful coastlines. But how can those communities capitalize on that and many other attributes likes beautiful forests, trails and streams?

It’s a challenge that some of our south county communities are beginning to take seriously. Oregonian reporter Lori Tobias tells us what they’ve been up to in trying to convince more tourists to think of their area as a destination…not just a pretty picture drive-through. Click here.

Newport: Tourist attractions too good to pass up?

Bob Ward Requests additional funding for new Japanese Tsunami Dock exhibit on Bayfront

Bob Ward
Requests additional funding for new Japanese Tsunami Dock exhibit on Bayfront

Corner of Tsunami Dock coveted by Bayfront business community

Corner of Tsunami Dock coveted by Bayfront business community

Must be removed from port property by April 1, according to Bob Ward

Must be removed from port property by April 1, according to Bob Ward

Proposed Sea Lion Dock Port Dock 5 Preliminary design

Proposed Sea Lion Dock
Port Dock 5
Preliminary design

Sea Lion Dock and Bayfront Tsunami Dock Foundation representative Bob Ward was back before the Newport City Council Monday night seeking more funds for two tourist projects his group is spearheading on the Bayfront.

Ward said the Sea Lion Dock at Port Dock 5 is going to cost them a bit more money than they planned for and so they need a little more from the city. Plus they’ve launched a new project which involves sawing off another corner of the Japanese Tsunami Dock that remains at McLean Point out the Bay Road. They want to place it at Undersea Gardens on the Bayfront with tsunami evacuation instructions on it so visitors will know which way to run if there is a major local earthquake. Ward said it’s also opportunity to create yet another tourist draw for the Bayfront, even if it’s a lot less than we saw last summer at Agate Beach where the dock came ashore last June. He said his group has been told by the port to get the piece sawed-off before April 1st, because come April 1st the rest of the dock must be removed from port property.

However, Mayor Sandra Roumagoux reminded Ward that the deadline for applying for funds for tourism related facilities has long passed and that he should redouble his group’s efforts to raise more money from Bayfront businesses and other potential donors. Ward replied that the recession has trimmed Bayfront business profits making it difficult for them to help with the project much more than they already have.

The council backed Mayor Roumagoux on her advice to Ward and then awarded his group the $50,000 they originally applied for to help build a permanent Sea Lion Dock and viewing deck at Port Dock 5.

“Whale spoken here.” The whales also ‘wave’ back…

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From Andrea Scharf at ‘Go Yachats’

We Speak Whales!

What’s as big as a big yellow school bus, weighs as much as 35 VW bugs, eats a ton of amphipods and Mycid shrimp everyday (each one no bigger than an M&M), and swims 12,000 miles a year between the Arctic feeding grounds and the good times in the Bay of Cortez?

Only a gray whale rings the bell!

A group of 29 people from local visitor centers and tourist-related businesses in South Lincoln County gathered at the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center on Thursday to learn about Gray Whales from Ian Fawley, Interpretive Ranger at the Depoe Bay Whale Watch Center and Beverly Beach State Park. The program was the second in a planned series of subject-based “We Speak” trainings designed for people who work at motels, restaurants, and stores frequented by tourists, as well as for volunteers at local visitor centers. The objective of this “We Speak” program is to help front line staff provide more accurate and complete information and answers to frequently asked questions about what to do and see in South Lincoln County.

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The South Lincoln County (SLC) Rural Tourism Studio involved about sixty people from Yachats, Waldport, and Seal Rock, who learned about ways to promote low-impact, nature-based tourism while maintaining a healthy environment.

“We want to engage our visitors and provide them with helpful, accurate, and interesting information. This encourages visitors to feel welcome in our communities,” said Bev Wilson. “The local source of information can influence the visitor’s experience. When people get good information about what there is to see and do in an area, they are more likely to want to stay, to extend their stay, to come back, and to recommend the area to their friends and family. Plus attending these ‘We Speak’ sessions is a cool way to get to know your own community better.”

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For Spring Whale Watch Week, trained experts are available all along the Oregon Coast at the official Whale Watching Spoken Here sites between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., March 23-30, 2013. More information is available at the Oregon State Parks & Recreation Whale Watch website, www.WhaleSpoken.org, or by calling The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, 541-765-3304. Local visitor centers along the coast will also have information. In South Lincoln County, you can find whale watch interpreters stationed just south of Yachats at Cape Perpetua Visitors Center and at Cook’s Chasm during Whale Watch week. For more information, call the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center, 541-547-3289.

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If you want to look for whales in a serious way, be sure to dress for weather that can range from cold, windy and wet to glorious sunshine. Layering is the way to do it, and don’t forget your thermos, sunglasses and sun screen. Bring binoculars, patience, and a friend to share the experience. Forget your cell phone and your daily obligations and get into a different rhythm. And remember: even if you don’t see a whale, you’ll be looking out at the spectacular and inspiring great Pacific Ocean. Not a bad way to spend the day.

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Newport: Sea Lion Dock taking shape….on paper. Supporters seeking $106,000 to build it – $50,000 from Newport

New Sea Lion Dock Newport Bayfront Extends it westerly

New Sea Lion Dock
Newport Bayfront
Extends it westerly

Supporters of rebuilding the Sea Lion Docks down on the Bayfront offered a graphic image of what it would take to rebuild not only the docks where the sea lions like to sun themselves and sleep, but also to extend the public viewing area to the west six to ten feet to get the public off what is a working dock for fishermen.

Supporters say they need $50,000 from the city’s “Tourism Facilities Fund” to put them over the top. They presented their plan to the city council Monday night showing public donations for $12,000, County Community at $8,000, Siletz Tribal Fund $8,000, Meyer Memorial Fund $10,000 and $18,000 from the Collins Foundation. All tolled, $106,000 to give the sea lions a new stage on which to perform to the delight of tourists. They said if awarded the $50,000, they would expect to be building the new facility from November through early February – in time for the tourist season in 2014.

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Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) of Portland, which is applying for $150,000 from the same “Tourism Facilities Fund” said they need the money to show local community buy-in for their proposed family oriented education facility planned for South Beach. City Councilor David Allen challenged the application by wondering if the state mandated criteria that an applying entity build a facility which, by its mission, entails a substantial purpose of being tourist related is fully met by the OMSI application. OMSI officials on hand assured the council that it does meet that criteria in that they bring in families and children from all over Oregon who will have lots of free time to mill about the area, including seeing shows, eating in restaurants, taking tours, etc. They also said their South Beach facility would also be available for small conventions and meetings of all kinds which would benefit the restaurants and hotels in town.

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The perennial call for building a large, regional Aquatic Park at South Beach was also raised but a couple members of the task force that reviewed the applications for tourism facility funds said the committee was solidly against giving the park supporters funds. “Not ready to move forward,” ‘lacking fundraising capabilities,” no firm plans or actual design,” no solid cost estimates of what the project will cost,” were some of findings made by the committee, which also recommended that no funding be provided to the group. And the city council agreed, telling the Aquatic Park’s chief spokesman and former city councilor Jeff Bertuleit that they would not consider any funding at this time. Bertuleit protested saying OMSI’s project is equally in the initial phases on the road to becoming real – hinting at some arbitrary bias against the Aquatic Park. However the council was told that OMSI has a proven record of building facilities statewide to extend their reach into areas that offer exciting education opportunities for science and industry exploration by young and old.

In the end the council decided to fire off some last minute questions at OMSI and the the Sea Lion Dock booster group as to why they should receive city support for their projects and how their projects would satisfy the state statutory requirement that a “substantial purpose” behind their projects would be to promote tourism. The matter comes back to the council March 18.

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Know Your Newport: If YOU don’t know, how can you help visitors to the area?

"Know Your Newport" Chamber of Commerce event

“Know Your Newport”
Chamber of Commerce event

“Know Your Newport” Seeking Vendors
From Newport Chamber of Commerce

Whether you travel or not, everyone utilizes services from shops, restaurants and if you’re on the road, lodging accommodations. Getting friendly assistance, accurate information, and helpful recommendations makes your experience a good one. The Newport Chamber of Commerce conducts a “Know Your Newport” hospitality workshop each year to educate service industry personnel and local residents about “what’s happening” in our area.

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Hospitality happens year round on the coast with events, conventions and conferences. But our biggest influx of visitors comes during the summer. Having knowledgeable front-line employees creates a good impression for your business and for the community at large. One of the most effective ways to give your employees the tools and information they need to be successful is to participate in the workshop.

Traditionally, “Know Your Newport” spotlights hotels, activities and attractions, but this year the event organizers plan to include retail and restaurants. Businesses are encouraged to sign up for vendor space and share what they have to offer, both to locals and guests alike.

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This year’s workshop will be held on May 15th, at the Embarcadero Hotel Resort with two sessions, morning and evening. Attendees will explore vendor booths, talk with businesses and then take a “virtual tour” of Newport’s various neighborhoods. Participants will receive passes to many activities and venues around Newport, with refreshments and door prizes rounding out the session. One Grand Prize of $100 will be featured at each session of the training seminar, and the Employee of the Year will be announced during this event.

The Newport Chamber of Commerce urges businesses to sign up early for complimentary vendor space, as well as to offer an opportunity for their employees to attend one of the sessions. These educational classes are a way to provide exceptional hospitality training that will be used day to day throughout the greater Newport area. For information or to sign up for vendor space call the Chamber office: 541-265-8801 or by email at bobbi@newportchamber.org

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Travel Oregon Presents Grant Funds to South Lincoln County

 Photo caption: Tourism development grant presented to South Lincoln County Rural Tourism Studio. From left to right: David Locke, President of Greater Yachats Chamber of Commerce; Holly Macfee, Vice President for Brand Strategy, Travel Oregon; Sue Woodruff, Mayor of Waldport, co-chair of RTS Umbrella Committee; Maggie Rivers, Director, Port of Alsea; Harry Dalgaard, Destination Development Specialist,Travel Oregon; Bev Wilson, Director Yachats Visitor Center; Sandy Dunn, Yachats City Council; Andrea Scharf, Marketing Director, GoYachats.


Photo caption: Tourism development grant presented to South Lincoln County Rural Tourism Studio. From left to right: David Locke, President of Greater Yachats Chamber of Commerce; Holly Macfee, Vice President for Brand Strategy, Travel Oregon; Sue Woodruff, Mayor of Waldport, co-chair of RTS Umbrella Committee; Maggie Rivers, Director, Port of Alsea; Harry Dalgaard, Destination Development Specialist,Travel Oregon; Bev Wilson, Director Yachats Visitor Center; Sandy Dunn, Yachats City Council; Andrea Scharf, Marketing Director, GoYachats.

The first installment of a grant for $7,500 from Travel Oregon is on its way to the South Lincoln County Rural Tourism project. A “big check” facsimile was presented on Thursday, February 28, to representatives of the local project by Holly Macfee, Vice President for Global Brand Strategy, and Harry Dalgaard, Destination Development Strategist, both with the Oregon Tourism Commission dba Travel Oregon.

The communities of Waldport, Seal Rock, and Yachats participated in the Rural Tourism training program last spring. Action teams were formed to carry out several projects: development of a map of all non-motorized trails between Ona Beach and Cummins Creek; the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic, a cycling event which will take place October 5-6, 2013; We Speak, a training program for hospitality workers; and development of a plan for marketing this area to attract new visitors and encourage them to stay longer.

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Macfee was in Yachats to share a “brand toolkit” developed by the Travel Oregon team and Travel Oregon’s agency of record, Portland ad firm Wieden + Kennedy, to help rural communities promote tourism through joint marketing efforts with their local destination marketing organization which, in the case of the coast, is the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA). The marketing theme is The People’s Coast, making generous use of the fact that thanks to a bill passed when Tom McCall was governor, all of Oregon’s 363 miles of coastline literally “belong to the people” with free and unlimited access for Oregonians and visitors alike—something that is not true in other coastal states, where ocean scenery is often marred by No Trespassing signs and barred to public access.

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Tourism is a major source of employment in rural areas, and South Lincoln County is no exception. In 2010, tourism generated 19,950 jobs on the Oregon coast, and $1.5 billion dollars in revenue, the second biggest region in the state after Portland. Promoting our area helps attract new residents and businesses. This makes our Rural Tourism projects a vital part of the local economy, with widespread impacts.

Sue Woodruff, mayor of Waldport and co-chair of the Rural Tourism Umbrella Committee, says she is very excited to have these projects finally coming to fruition. “We expect great results from all of the action teams’ efforts. Tourism dollars help keep our local economy healthy. This allows us to diversify our economies to retain existing businesses and residents, and bring in new services and stores so that our communities remain vital and we don’t have to drive over to the Valley every time we need a new pair of shoes!”

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